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Feature Request: A Magic AirPort Extreme with smart downloads, better debugging + prioritized devices

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Feature Request is a new regular 9to5Mac series where authors offer their opinions on how to improve popular hardware or software products.

Apple’s AirPort wireless routers aren’t cheap, but many people — including me — keep buying them because they “just work” most of the time. Connect an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express to your cable modem and you’ll get a consistently great wireless connection across all of your Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, and accessories, as well as non-Apple products. But the AirPorts could do more, and Apple knows it. Four years ago, the company was openly working on some cool next-generation router features that apparently didn’t wind up in its devices. These days, with Apple TVs and AirPlay streaming at the peak of their popularity, Apple’s routers need to be smarter about streaming high-bitrate video and audio. Here’s how AirPort routers should take the next steps forward…



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Apple releases Heartbleed bug fix for 2013 AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule

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Apple has released a bug fix patch for its 2013 AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, fixing the OpenSSL ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability. The update does not apply to the AirPort Express.

Firmware update 7.7.3 is recommended for all AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac. It provides security improvements related to SSL/TLS. Other AirPort base stations do not require this firmware update.

Amusingly, when Heartbleed made headlines earlier this month, Apple said that no key software or services were affected. They conveniently forgot to mention that their latest router hardware was susceptible to the flaw.

How-to: Set time limits on your Wi-Fi network using AirPort Utility

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AirPort Utility is a built-in Mac app that is used to configure and control Wi-Fi networks using Apple’s AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule. The AirPort Extreme is a base station router like you would use when setting up your Wi-Fi network. An AirPort Express is used to extend a Wi-Fi network to a larger area, or can be used to stream audio using AirPlay. A Time Capsule is a combination of an AirPort Extreme and an external hard drive, and comes in 2 TB or 3 TB. It automatically backs up all Macs on your network.

AirPort Utility has the ability to set limits on what time of day the network (and therefore the internet) can be accessed from specific wireless devices. This can be helpful in situations where parents want to keep kids off of the internet after a certain time. Time limits can be set for different times on different days of the week.



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Stock shortages suggest possible new iMac and Airport Express on the way

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MacRumors is citing low stocks of Airport Express base stations as suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer wifi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

We’re also hearing similar whispers about constrained supplies of iMacs, alongside price-cuts by resellers … 

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TiVo announces new ‘Roamio’ DVRs w/ out-of-home streaming to iPhone and iPad

TiVo is officially taking the wraps of its latest family of Wi-Fi enabled DVRs today dubbed “Roamio”, which appear to be replacing the company’s high-end Premiere offerings. In addition to inking some new deals with cable providers and redesigning its interface, TiVo is adding a ton of features with the new boxes, including a number of streaming options and support for the DIAL protocol (the same one used by Chromecast) for streaming and controlling apps like Netflix from mobile devices. It is also moving to a new HTML5 engine for a smoother native app experience and introducing an “out-of-home” streaming feature that will launch for iPhone and iPad later this year:

Coming very soon, out-of-home streaming will allow subscribers to stream TV and recorded shows to your iPad® or iPhone®. The built-in TiVo Stream feature allows users to connect to their Roamio over Wi-Fi and watch recordings and cable channels almost ANYWHERE…  Streaming is restricted to a limited number of devices owned by the TiVo subscriber. Due to content provider restrictions, not all content can be streamed out of home and some content may only be streamed while a mobile device is on the same local network as the subscriber’s DVR. Mobile devices sold separately.

The new out-of-home streaming feature will also be coming to TiVo’s existing TiVo Stream product, and for Roamio boxes will require at least the mid-range $399 model. Details on pricing and availability below and more on TiVo’s website here.

The TiVo Roamio DVR Series includes three models: TiVo Roamio ($199.99), TiVo Roamio Plus ($399.99) and TiVo Roamio Pro ($599.99). Roamio features four or six tuners and unprecedented storage (ranging from 75 hours to 450 hours of HD content). It ensures subscribers never miss a show again and have plenty of space for recordings. The improved speed and performance of TiVo Roamio also includes integrated wireless and TiVo Stream functionality in certain models… The TiVo Roamio can be purchased today online at TiVo.com, Amazon.com or BestBuy.com and in Best Buy stores in the coming weeks.

Apple Store down ahead of WWDC, new hardware on the way

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In what gets as close as possible to confirmation that Apple is announcing new hardware at WWDC today, the Apple Store is down for updates.

We’re expecting new Haswell-based MacBook Airs, and perhaps new MacBook Pros and a new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule supporting the faster 802.11 ac standard … 

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MacMall slashes prices on Apple products in their early Black Friday sale

From 9to5Toys.com:

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MacMall starts its Black Friday early with discounts on a monster selection of Macs, hard drives, iPods, and more by up to $799 off.  Plus, all orders over $25 qualify for free shipping. We’ve already populated our new Apple Products section with all the new low prices so check them out.

60 Hour Black Friday Sale at MacMall.com

Notables include AppleTV for $89, Retina MacBook Pros starting at over $100 off, MacBook Airs starting at $897.

That’s the biggest sale we’ve seen from MacMall this year. (We saw up to $675 off in February.) Deals ends November 24 at 3 am ET.

We’ll be updating 9to5Mac and 9to5Toys with deals this whole long weekend so stay tuned.



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Announcement: 9to5Mac Apple Products pages

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It is the holiday shopping season again, and we know many of you will be looking to buy Apple- and Apple-related products this year. To help out, we’re compiling a new section of 9to5Mac called Apple products and separate sections for each of Apple’s lines. Elsewhere, we have seen buying guides, pricing guides, related news and predictions, but we’re wrapping them up into one page per product.

How it works:

1. With the help of our 9to5Toys editors, we’re finding the lowest prices on Apple products in the U.S. and keeping a matrix of the biggest retailers’ prices. Here’s the current static matrix of MacBook Airs.

2. For the last few months and going forward, every post we do on a related product will be propagated to the page so you’ll have a roundup of the latest information on each product line. Additionally, in every post on a topic, you’ll notice a new link to the product section on the right.

3. We’ll also have a record of Apple’s past updates on each product, which should help in estimating the next product cycle.

4. Finally, we have our best predictions on upcoming products from 9to5Mac’s editors headed by Mark Gurman.

Together—this information should help Apple product users and buyers make smart, informed decisions.

Enjoy!

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2012 Mac Mini found to support 450 Mb/s Wi-Fi

Past the new Fusion Drive, upgraded RAM, and speed, French publication Macg.co found the 2012 Mac Mini introduced in September also boasts upgraded Wi-Fi antennas. The upgraded antennas brings the desktop to a maximum Wi-Fi speed of 450 Mb/s, now up-to-par with the 2011 MacBook Pro and iMac.

Of course to reach 450 Mbits/s you need a router to support it, and luckily, both Apple’s latest Time Capsule and Airport Extreme. There’s also other factors such as room configuration, interference and so forth. As to why Apple isn’t advertising the speeds is unknown.



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Apple announces new AirPort Express featuring dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi for $99

Apple just unveiled its new AirPort Express on its online store at the conclusion of its WWDC keynote. The new router features dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi for $99. Besides the new bands, the new Express does not seem to feature any new updates, except that it does seem to look closer to an Apple TV — in white. The update Express keeps the same USB 2.0 and 3.5mm headphone jack that it has always carried. You can check it out on the Apple Online Store now. 

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