Bradley Chambers, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:
When Apple was selling home routers for $199, they were ahead of their time. They had built a router that was high-end, easy to manage, and worked well. Around the rest of the industry, companies were selling home routers that were hard to manage (if step #1 is to log in to an IP address, you missed it), required rebooting, and couldn’t handle the load.
Since Apple took its eye off of the home router business (The AirPort lineup was dead for many years before the announcement), users have started to buy more expensive solutions. Solutions like Eero, Google WiFi, and AmpliFi have shown that people will invest in their home Wi-Fi. Even solutions from ISPs like Comcast have gotten into the business of upgrading your home Wi-Fi.
I’ve written about this idea before, but I’m glad Bradley is bringing it back to the conversation — AirPort was a huge missed opportunity for Apple. They could have integrated mesh networking into the HomePod and Apple TV, which would have increased their functionality in a meaningful way when compared to competing devices. I bet there are a lot of people that would have purchased an Apple TV or a HomePod to be used as their home’s primary base station.
But Apple could have gone further, releasing an updated Time Capsule that allowed for local backups of iOS devices. And even introduced a new AirPort Extreme with an integrated cable modem.
Between HomeKit devices, iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, your home’s Wi-Fi network has never been more important than it is today. And I think it would have served Apple well if they continued to offer a home networking solution that integrated with all of your existing devices in ways that only Apple could.