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Apple killing its AirPort wireless division

by Todd Haselton | November 21, 2016November 21, 2016 11:30 am PDT

Apple is shutting down its wireless router business, Bloomberg said Monday. The company is reportedly going to focus on its other product categories, like iPhone, iPad and Mac, instead of developing wireless routers that deliver a large chunk of its quarterly revenues.

Apple has already started to lay off employees who worked on the company’s AirPort family of wireless router products, Bloomberg said, noting that some employees were moved to other teams to work on different products, such as the Apple TV. The move isn’t all that surprising considering Apple hasn’t released a new AirPort product in about three years. The industry has moved forward while Apple hasn’t really done much in the way of launching new products. Its competitors, including Google, have entered the business.

Apple didn’t keep up with competitors

Google’s OnHub system, for example, launched last year while it recently just began accepting orders for its new Google Wifi home routers. The wireless access points are capable of talking to one another and creating a mesh network inside a user’s house. Apple’s AirPort products have typically been more expensive than other options on the market. Some offered additional features, like the AirPort Time Capsule, which packaged up to 3TB of network storage, but most AirPort products didn’t provide features that consumers could buy elsewhere for much less.

As Bloomberg notes, Apple took a similar approach with its display business earlier this year, deciding to stop selling Apple-branded displays while selling products developed by partners such as LG. It’s possible we’ll see Apple continue that method with the wireless business, recommending routers that work well with its products in stores.

Apple’s AirPort products are still for sale on its website. They may continue to be on sale until Apple runs out of stock or decides to kill each one individually, but don’t expect any new products since there’s no longer a team building them.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...