Apparently, the longstanding rumours that Apple was exiting the WiFi router market were true as the company is said to be discontinuing its AirPort and Time Capsule base stations officially. A spokesperson from Apple informed Engadget that the company would still provide software and hardware support (such as patching vulnerabilities and bugs). However, the devices will only be available “while supplies last.” The tech titan is set to post a series of knowledge base documents over the coming weeks to help in guiding the customers that are wondering what to buy.
While Apple was not specific regarding the reasons for discontinuing its AirPort range, it is not hard to understand the reason since WiFi has already become a commodity. In 1999, the company introduced its AirPort line when any wireless networking was considered a luxury. Fast forward to almost two decades later, and it has now become a different story. WiFi routers are so common that most internet providers will offer you a modem that has the technology built in, and even the routers with the lowest prices are already enough for most uses. Meanwhile, high-end users have an abundance of choices that include both mesh routers that have greater coverage as well as extremely fast conventional routers.
This is not to say that Apple is never going to return to making routers. A spokesperson for the company informed Engadget that the company might still revisit WiFi routers if it would be able to make a meaningful contribution to the market. However, he said that it is far from guaranteed. You do not need an Apple router for media sharing, especially not in the time of connected speakers such as the HomePod.
The said decision is said to be bittersweet for fans, regardless of what the company does next. Its routers are not as important as they used to be, and they have not been price-competitive for quite some time (the same $199 can already buy a modem-and-router combo that is faster wireless). Also, it is sad to see Apple bow out of a market that it helped develop. Many users purchased AirPorts specifically for their tight integration with the Apple ecosystem (including a design that does not look like an alien spaceship), and that option is now going away.