AirPort Extreme Gains 802.11ac, New Design UPDATE

Apple adds 802.11ac support to AirPort ExtremeApple introduced a revamped AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi basestation at World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The new model supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and sports a redesigned body that can also hold a hard drive, turning the new Basestation into a TimeCapsule.

The new Basestation was introduced along with updated MacBook Air models that also support 802.11ac, which makes sense considering Apple needed a Basestation that suppors the new laptop's wireless networking capabilities.

Apple changed the AirPort Extreme form factor by changing from a flat and squat box to small tower-like shape that's 6.6-inches tall and 3.85-inches across. It includes three Gigabit Ethernet ports, a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, and a single USB 2 port. The Basestation supports up to 50 simultaneous users, and uses a six-element beamforming antenna array with simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band connections.

Apple's redesigned AirPort Extreme BasestationApple's redesigned AirPort Extreme Basestation

The Time Capsule version is available with 2TB and 3TB built-in capacities, and Apple said it offers performance that's 50 percent faster than the model it replaces.

The 802.11ac AirPort Extreme is available now and is priced at US$199. The 2TB Time Capsule model costs $299 and the 3TB model is priced at $399.

Apple's WWDC 2013 keynote is still underway, so be sure to check in with TMO for updated information and new announcements.

[Updated with additional AirPort Extreme specifications]