Under The Microscope

New AirPort Expresses Finally Arrive!

Today, Apple has unveiled a new AirPort Express unit, on their site. This update appears to be identical to the original AirPort Express in all ways, but it now features the faster 802.11n wireless protocol. That means you can still send music to the device and out through attached speakers with our own Airfoil application, letting you send any audio to the remote speakers( not just iTunes).

Apple first announced their updated AirPort Extreme base station, with 802.11n functionality, in January 2007. Since then, we’ve been wondering when the AirPort Express would see an update to the faster wireless protocol. As the months dragged on, I feared that perhaps they didn’t see a place for the device any longer. However, recent scuttlebutt suggested that the issue was with getting 802.11n to run cool enough in the existing form factor. It looks like that problem is solved, and we’re happy to see the AirPort Express will have many more years ahead of it.

I’m off to the Apple retail store to grab a new unit, so we can be 100% certain that it works fully with Airfoil. If you’ve got one already, let us know in the comments how it works!

Update (3/17/08 6:30 PM): It looks like this update does change the way the AirPort Express appears to Airfoil. Because of this, Airfoil 3.1.1 is not compatible with the new 802.11n AirPort Express units, but we’ve already got an internal version working with the device. We should have updates to Airfoil for Mac and Airfoil for Windows in a few days, providing full compatibility. Stay tuned!

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