Following our reports that Apple is gearing up to release updated AirPort Extremes and Time Capsules with software update caching, we have discovered references to unreleased AirPort Extremes and Time Capsules inside the code of Apple’s latest AirPort Utility update. Specifically, this code references a 5th Generation AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n capability and a 4th Generation Time Capsule with 802.11n capability (shown above).

Additionally, code from previous versions of AirPort Utility (and this new version) confirms Apple’s plan for including software update caching in future AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models. As you can see in the screenshot of the leaked code above, software update caching will be available to any device connected to your respective AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule network. This is our explanation of the feature from a couple of weeks ago:

What we do know is that Apple has been internally testing Time Capsules to cache Software Updates for both Mac and iOS devices.  The way we’ve heard it works is that the new Time Capsule learns which devices connect to it via Wifi.  It then goes out to Apple’s servers and downloads Software Updates for those products.

When the user wants to install the software update, the Time Capsule, which is also the router, routes you to the locally stored update, rather than downloading the whole thing over the Internet.  This works for iOS updates as well, though the updating still happened via the Mac.

Since this code has appeared in previous versions, and this new version, it is not clear when Apple will unleash the feature into the wild. At least we now know that it is actually being worked on.

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