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New Time Capsule, Airport Extremes Being Readied by Apple

Speculation about Apple refreshing both its Time Capsule backup device, and the Airport Extreme wireless base station has been kicked into high gear. Citing rather sharp discounts at the Apple Store and resellers, both devices may get some attention sooner rather than later.

Notably, Amazon’s sharp discounts were what initially spurred 9to5mac to start pondering the notion that these devices might see some updates in the near future.

“We think they are going to see a bit of an upgrade this month. Sure, the 1.5TB/750GB point makes sense, especially with drives at up to 2TB starting to hit store shelves. But we’ve heard there might be some more to it than just that. Our sources informed us a few months ago that Apple was experimenting with caching Apple software updates on the Time Machine devices. That would not only save some bandwidth (your whole office/family would only need it to be downloaded once), it would also make the updating process much much quicker on each client machine because the download would be local.”

“Software Update caching has been available on Leopard and Tiger server for years but this kind of easy setup/low cost of entry would put the software update caching in many more hands. There is nothing to indicate that current Time Capsules wouldn’t be able to add this type of functionality with a firmware update,” Seth Weintraub reports for 9to5mac.

9to5’s thoughts may be more than just speculation. Apple has been trying to figure out ways to consistently and reliably deliver updates to Mac OS X without hangups and continuous issues. The updates can be quite hefty and we have heard some pretty unfortunate horror stories with OS X updates freezing in the middle. By integrating a Software Update caching mechanism, Apple could store the update on the user’s wireless network, which would be available anytime at the user’s convenience. Now if only they could do this with the most popular tv shows and movies on the Apple TV.

Some FCC documents containing Authorization letters, requests for confidentiality and test reports regarding both devices can be downloaded here (zip package).

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