TUAW points out (and MacRumors concurs) that several US Apple Stores are experiencing constrained supplies of AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless gadgets. Multiple sources tell MacRumors those products have been in short supplies at several locations, with “sales reps indicating that no new shipments appeared to be planned”. Insiders also tell TUAW that “some AirPort devices are either low in stock or out of stock altogether”. The publication explains:
A reader let us know that all of the Apple Stores in his area are out of AirPort Express models, and one of our sources confirmed the Apple Store in his area is out of stock on not just the Express, but the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule as well. Another source says supplies at one store are not constrained and never have been, but the store “may have” received a notice to send its AirPort device inventory back.
At press time, the online Apple store listed a 24-hour availability for the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule. Could this constrained inventory of Apple’s wireless appliances conveniently happening just days ahead of WWDC have something to do with the iCloud service? Maybe new base stations designed to seamlessly work with the iCloud and cache data in the background?
Apple’s wireless base stations are nearly two years old so they might be up for either a major hardware refresh or a minor redesign. Apple has changed AirPort card in the 2011 MacBook Pro and iMac family, adding three antennas to enable wireless data speeds of 450 Mbps over a compatible base station (either the current-generation Airport Extreme or Time Capsule). This requires connecting to the base station using the 802.11n mode on the five gigahertz band GHz, with the simultaneous dual-band mode turned on.