New Apple Products – Getting the Bigger Picture

Do you remember the World Wide Developer Conference Keynote back in June? It had some really important announcements. No, I am not talking about iOS 7 or Mac OS X Mavericks. I am talking about the new MacBook Airs and the new technology they introduced. I am also talking about the new AirPort Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme that were not really a part of the Keynote, but they were addd to the Apple Store that day.
airport_time_capsule

If you go to the links for the AirPorts you will see this graphic:
wifi

The big deal is the addition of the new
802.11ac specification. This change will mean faster data speeds, double channel bandwidth, support of dual-band and a new antenna array to make the Wi‑Fi signal stronger and clearer.

Okay, enough with the spec mumbo-jumbo. This is what it really means.

While each new iteration of Apple products adds new features, occasionally a feature is added that causes the whole landscape to change. This new Wi-Fi standard will have that effect. Right now even 802.11n is pretty slow. It is fast enough for streaming video and high quality audio to one or two devices, but that is not what happens in my home in the evening. We are frequently streaming video from one of our AppleTVs while one or more people are multitasking on their iPads or iPhones. When one of the other 3 or 4 computers begins a backup to the Time Capsule, things slow down and we see pauses and pixelations. We need better wireless throughput--and that is what this new standard will provide.

As we wait for the September Apple product announcements, there are many industry pundits who are making all sorts of predictions. I usually don’t make my own, but this time I will.

Apple will be replacing every piece of equipment in its lineup in the next few months. We have already seen new MacBook Airs and Wi‑Fifi devices. I look for the Airport Express and the AppleTV to be replaced. Apple has already announced the new MacPro. Look for a complete refresh of the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini lines. Expect all new iPads and iPhones.

It is Apple’s adoption of the new Wi‑Fi standard that is the game changer. Since Apple products have defined the wireless computing space since the introduction of the first AirPort, this new standard will quickly be added to the entire Apple product lineup.

The June WWDC announcements were a signal to me to begin my upgrade plans. I bought the new AirPort Time Capsule the day after it was introduced. I knew I would be replacing my older Time Capsule with a new one because my daughter and son-in-law were in need of a larger back-up device. I will be replacing my beloved 17” MacBook Pro because the hard drive is now too small, I need more RAM, and its processors are showing their age. I need a new bigger, faster main computing device.

The iPhone 5S looks to be a major improvement over my iPhone 5. I am looking forward to the rumored camera and flash improvements, the rumored fingerprint sensor--and the 802.11ac Wi-Fi. I am intrigued by the gold color and I am seriously considering the 128GB of storage space. I like to record video with my iPhone and it takes up a lot of room!

I will also be getting a new iPad. I haven’t decided if I will choose the Mini or the regular iPad. The deciding factor may be the Retina display. I really like it in my iPad 3 and I do not want to return to a regular display.

As for the Apple TV, we now own two of them. I will buy at least one new Apple TV because of 802.11ac. My buying plans will depend on the form factor of the new products for TV.

That leaves my two AirPort Extremes. Both are 802.11n devices. They are used to extend our wireless network. Its signal is affected by our wall of electronics in my kitchen. Since I added the new 802.11ac Time Capsule, the Wi-Fi signal seems to do better, but I am waiting to test it with a new device.

I am really looking forward to the improved wireless speed. Although our entire home has Ethernet wiring, we use Wi‑Fi for our computers and Apple TVs. Because we have so many devices in our home, I am looking forward to faster data.

Here is a little buying advice. Because Apple will be releasing all its new devices with the new 8011.ac standard, this is not the time to be buying close-out and refurbished Apple devices. This new Wi‑Fi standard will be around for the next 5-7 years. It will be a game changer!

--Pat
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