Apple has disbanded the hardware division responsible for its AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule products, according to a report from Bloomberg. The reassignment of employees signals that the company is making a quiet exit from the home router business — just as competitors like Google increase their focus on providing consumers with speedy, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity that blankets entire homes.
Apple’s router products were last updated in 2013 with support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. But that was long before companies like Eero, Netgear, Google and others began manufacturing router systems that use a mesh network approach for better whole-home coverage. Apple’s AirPort devices, which remain available for sale, range in price between $99 and $399. Bloomberg reports that some engineers who formerly worked in the AirPort division have been moved over to Apple TV.
It’s been reported that Apple is developing a speaker with built-in Siri capabilities, which would compete with Amazon’s Echo and the more recent Google Home speaker. So while Apple seemingly has plans to expand its role as a connected devices company, if Bloomberg’s report is accurate, it no longer has any desire to be a router company.