Looks Like A Big Tylenol (11/13/01)
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Just a coincidence, or a masterstroke of subliminal marketing savvy? For obvious reasons, we've all spent the past two months thinking more than a little about the dire need to tighten up security in our airports, and suddenly Apple's got the answer to our prayers... sort of. Faithful viewer Wayne Parkhurst was the first to point out that Apple has just announced AirPort 2, now with a slew of improvements including-- you guessed it-- better security. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? (If Apple releases a new version of Mail that automatically detects rare but malicious viruses, we'll know the company's doing this stuff on purpose.)

So, the all-new AirPort: in addition to gaining a long-awaited security upgrade (from 40-bit to 128-bit encryption), the new Base Station boasts a handful of other useful features. The one that grabbed our attention was the addition of a second Ethernet interface; while there's still a 10-base-T WAN port to hook into a DSL line or cable modem, now there's also a 10/100 port to let you connect the Base Station to your wired LAN. In effect, this makes the Base Station a router and firewall for your wireless and your wired computers. We say "computers" and not "Macs," because technically the Base Station supports both-- networking is networking, after all-- but we don't mean to imply that you're tasteless enough to be harboring a Wintel or two.

The new Base Station also supports up to fifty simultaneous wireless clients (up from ten) and adds support for AOL dialup accounts. (Even if you happen to think that AOL is the online equivalent of jamming a red-hot pair of pinking shears through one's own soft palate, the fact remains that it's still the number one online service, so Apple is filling a need.) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly of all, the revised Base Station also boasts a subtle color change so it matches the current Quicksilver Power Macs. For those of you who have been lying awake at night haunted by the shame of owning a Quicksilver G4 and a Graphite Base Station, now's the time to trade up so the world need never know of your heinous Fashion Don't.

Welcome improvements, every one... but longtime rumor fans may by struck most by what AirPort 2 isn't. If you were expecting higher bandwidth, you're out of luck; AirPort still maxes out at 11 Mbps. You won't be getting any more range, either-- the virtual tether is still 150 feet long. On the plus side, the price of the new Base Station remains fixed at $299, so at least we aren't expected to pay more for some nice but relatively minor new features. And really, while other vendors may have wireless access routers at a far cheaper price, these days we bet there are plenty of people eager to shell out $299 for a modern and secure airport...


 
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The above scene was taken from the 11/13/01 episode:

November 13, 2001: Ladies and gentlemen, AirPort 2 is now boarding at Gate 17. Meanwhile, rumors fly about LCD iMacs, imminent G5s, and 20 GHz G7s in 2005, and if you think the computer industry is crazy, wait'll you hear how Steve Jobs managed to get the Star Wars teaser shown before Pixar's latest film...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3392: Rumorological Overload (11/13/01)   Drop the Rubik's Cube and saddle up, Junior, because it's time for another in a series of "insider updates" over at Mac OS Rumors-- and as faithful viewer zifnab informs us, this one's a royal doozy...

  • 3393: Working The Business (11/13/01)   Holy cats-- if you think the back-room deals and political intrigue in the computer industry are out of control, steer well clear of Hollywood, because things over there just seem nuts. See, generally we're pretty sheltered from the seamier side of the entertainment biz, but when faithful viewer Pellaeon tipped us off to some dirt regarding Steve Jobs's other guise as Big Important Movie Guy™ for Pixar, we figured it was worth taking a peek...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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