Mobility News

Report: Apple Ditches Another Product Line With End Of Wireless Router Development

Kyle Alspach

The shift in priorities at Apple is continuing as the company reportedly has pulled the plug on development of its AirPort wireless routers.

Bloomberg reported that Apple has moved engineers that were part of the router development team onto other products, such as Apple TV.

The move follows Apple's discontinuation of its Thunderbolt external monitor in June. Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources saying the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is looking to increase its focus on consumer products.

[Related: Apple Reports Plunging Mac Sales Amid First Drop In Annual Revenue In 15 Years]

Jeff Keenan, president and CEO of East Hampton, Conn.-based wireless solution provider Keenan Systems, said Apple AirPort routers really have only been appropriate for the consumer market.

"It's a consumer device that may work OK in part of your house, but it's not meant for any type of business use," Keenan said of the AirPort routers. "Some businesses try to deploy it that way. But when I start talking to them, we switch them to something like EnGenius or Ruckus."

Keenan said he's worked with some schools, for instance, that used Apple computers and thus believed that using Apple AirPort would be ideal for providing Wi-Fi access to those computers.

But most education settings need an access point that "can handle super-high density," he said. "There are not many access points out there that can handle the hundreds of connections at a time that you might see in the classroom."

Access points from Brocade-owned Ruckus Wireless—which feature Ruckus' BeamFlex Adaptive Antenna Technology—are among those that are a match for that sort of density, Keenan said.

Ultimately, in terms of Apple's reported abandonment of development on routers, "It doesn't surprise me that they're getting out of it," he said.

According to the Bloomberg report, the disbanding of Apple's wireless routing development team has been in progress for the past year, and the AirPort products haven't gotten a major refresh since 2013.

Apple has been selling three routers--AirPort Extreme, which Apple says is appropriate for business use, as well as the less-powerful AirPort Express and the AirPort Time capsule, which includes data backup capabilities.