I was looking at the new Airport Express and it suddenly reminded me of my cat; cute but dumb.
Why is it cute I hear you ask? Well for starters the form factor is gorgeous and the finish and attention to detail is superb, essentially it’s an Airport Extreme but in miniature. If you’ve ever seen an Apple TV then you’ve seen the new Airport Express except in white.
It has all the great features we’ve come to expect from this versatile, but often overlooked, product in Apple’s networking arsenal. It comes with dual band 802.11n (so the signal is stronger and faster) and it has a port so you can plug in your USB printer and share an otherwise unsharable printer. It also has AirPlay allowing you to play your music from your computer to the home theatre or or a set of speakers on patio or any place you need it. It this why the new version is dumb.
You see the great advantage of the older Airport Express is that it was a single unit.
It could be plugged into a wall socket anywhere from the kitchen bench, behind the dresser or in the hallway. This is precisely why it made such a great little repeater for your home network because it could be stuck anywhere it was needed to make the signal better. But this unit has two pieces, the base station and the power cord – the cute little box needs somewhere to sit.
Can you imagine plugging the Airport Express into a Powerpoint in your hallway? You may as well push granny down the stairs now and get it over with!
Apple have made a gorgeous product but to do so they have forsaken one of its greatest assets- versatility.
Now I really must go, my cat wants feeding.