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Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 03:50 pm PT (06:50 pm ET)

High-quality photos and notes on Apple's Time Capsule

Outside, Time Capsule is nearly indistinguishable from its AirPort Extreme sibling — the device has only a slightly larger surface area (7.7 inches versus 6.5) and height (1.4 inches versus 1.3), as well as a mirror-finish Apple logo. For standard networking, the device is also virtually identical and provides up to 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as gigabit Ethernet and a USB port for printers or shared storage.

AirPort Extreme is not going away and will cost the same $179 as before, according to Apple. Time Capsule nonetheless appears to have been internally codenamed as a different device, M52. At Macworld, the device also bears an unknown "Wilma" card name.

The new router's storage is, of course, a critical difference. The storage allows one or more Mac OS X Leopard systems to automatically recognize Time Capsule as a Time Machine drive and backup over the network whether it's using Ethernet or wireless. No special software is needed other than Mac OS X 10.5.1, even if the Capsule's disk is shared between systems.

The Mac maker also says the drive works as a standard NAS drive.

Apple hopes this feature will separate Time Capsule from a small but growing field of multi-purpose routers.

While no existing rival offers as simple a backup method, a few manufacturers such as ASUS ship hard drive-equipped routers that also include network services Apple doesn't, such as BitTorrent clients and remote FTP servers. Some also offer remote backup software that allows more fine-tuned backup options.

At one terabyte, however, the top-end Time Capsule is believed to be one of the most capacious devices of its class.

Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule


Apple Time Capsule