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March 23rd, 2000

[11:00 AM] Washington Times Criticizes AirPort
by Bryan Chaffin

Mark A. Kellner has written a somewhat scathing article about AirPort for The Washington Times. This article will be syndicated in 100 other newspapers according to Mr. Kellner. The complain? Mr. Kellner takes exception to the fact that AirPort (version 1.1) doesn't work out of the box, a complaint echoed by many diehard Mac fans since the release of the wireless technology.

I reached the conclusion —over the irretrievable loss of six hours — that a company's product should work, out of the box. This heartfelt realization comes after wrestling with the "new and improved" Apple Computer AirPort version 1.1, a wireless networking "base station" that is supposed to let you wander around your home or office with a portable computer yet maintain a connection to the Internet.

I could not get the unit to operate with my cable Internet service, and at this writing, the Apple iBook and the AirPort base station aren't "talking" to each other. Forget about my ultimate goal, which is to get some other products using 802.11 wireless antennae to work together.

Apple mobile products director Greg Joswiak said that the AirPort device was incompatible with the MediaOne RoadRunner cable Internet service I use. The product would "work great with DSL" service, he said. Mr. Joswiak said the firm was working on resolving the MediaOne compatibility issue, as well as the fact that there were compatibility issues using the AirPort with some other cable Internet services.

While it is true, as Mr. Joswiak from Apple Computer states, that no networking product can be 100-percent compatible in a world of constantly changing network services, I also believe that a major new release, billed as a "fix" for earlier problems, should run as smoothly as possible.

Mr. Kellner goes on to point out that AirPort's favorable price point when compared to competing products from Compaq, but says that this doesn't matter if it doesn't work. This is a well rounded article pointing out many of the good and bad points concerning AirPort, and we recommend that you read the full piece.

The Mac Observer Spin: He's right, a product should work out of the box. This is a point that Apple has been hammering on regarding computers since the return of Steve Jobs and the introduction of the iMac. Of the many reviews of AirPort since its initial release and the release of the 1.1 update, most have had complaints of one form or another. Some of those complaints disappeared after the 1.1 update, but compatibility with cable service is imperative.

We are confident that Apple will iron out the bugs with the technology, but we hope its sooner rather than later.

It's too bad for the company that should get this kind of bad press at a time when so many things seem to be going right (Apple's stock price, the ongoing success of FireWire and the press it has been getting, etc.), but the bad has to be owned up to the same as the good.

Lastly, note that this isn't a call to flame Mr. Kellner.

The Washington Times - Apple



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