This ships sometime in February. The Airport Extreme looks like a killer piece of hardware on Apple’s part. Not only do you get a wireless N router and the ability to hook up external hard drives, but it is a hard drive. 500 GB or 1 TB, your choice. 500GB model is $300, which considering a bare 500GB drive runs around $100, isn’t a bad deal, especially since it’s Apple Hardware, which by law, lasts forever.
Imagine, not only is this network attached storage (NAS), but it looks like a local drive to all your macs(!!) (and PCs(!!!)) This means central repository of iTunes, videos, pictures, etc. for the entire house/network, sans big noisy rack mount server or similar. Just the hum of hard drives in the closet now. Fantastic. Apple calls it a Time Capsule, no doubt in reference to the time machine app in 10.5. Imagine an 8 port hub of external hard drives attached to this, added in pairs (raid 0 of course) over the years as your collection of data grows. All the additional drives look like internal, local drives to all your macs as well, even over wifi. More below the cut
This almost makes me want to buy an Apple TV just to hack it and run it as a terminal, hooked into my time capsule turned data server. I’ve been holding off on a data server because I didn’t see what I liked on the market. Now, rather than buy the NAS server + drive + drive enclosure, I can get a NAS + drive, and it works 100% with all my apple crap. Brilliant. Of course someone will hack it to run linux, but with all the functionality you could ask for out of the box (iPhone?? appleTV?? plus all the normal computer stuff) why would you change it?
Also of note is the form factor, it’s 7.7×7.7×1.4″, which makes it the same size (a smidge taller) than the appleTV. Cool. Interestingly, the Mac Mini and Airport Extreme (basically the time capsule minus 500GB drive) are the same size (6.5×6.5×1.n”). So it’s good to see Apple standardizing on a form factor (or two). The mac mini is the perfect size for computer peripherals, and the AppleTV seems a little unwieldy by itself on the shelf, even though they’re only about an inch larger in each direction. Think a 45 record vs a full size album laying flat on your bookshelf.
Also: “New” (read: processor bump) Macbooks released today. 2.4ghz from 2.2. Whoop de frickin do. And an extra gig of ram. Still, a grand for a laptop that paralells my new PC that cost me $650 all told? And you get a great quality 13″ LCD + 5 hours of battery life? I think the upgrade solution for G4 iBook owners has arrived, especially the dual layer DVD burner. As a 550mhz Powerbook G4 owner, it’s looking mighty tasty. Sometime this summer.