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Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Apple readying 'Unwired Airport Express Bundle' for Aussies

Apple Australia next month is expected to introduce a new AirPort Express bundle that may wed the company's portable Wi-Fi router with a local wireless data service.

A placeholder on the Apple Australia online store lists an "Unwired Airport Express Bundle" for $168 that's due to begin shipping sometime in the next two to three weeks. The listing, which isn't visible on the company's other online stores, includes a photo of a generic parcel package, suggesting the contents may not be entirely Apple's.

One possibility suggested by Australian Mac users is that Apple has agreed to resell service or modems from local over-the-air Internet provider Unwired alongside its most compact WiFi router. The Sydney-based firm is in the process of building a nationwide, fixed wireless telecommunications network offering carrier grade Internet services.

The service, currently available in Sydney and Melbourne, make use of a wireless network using base towers that broadcast a radio wave signal, offering speeds between 256K to 1Mbps without the need for a phone or data line. Monthly service plans range from $20 to $100 depending on bandwidth allowance and speeds.

"Travel anywhere within our coverage area and have the convenience of instant internet access at no extra cost," reads a description of the service on Unwired's website. "Take your modem from home to work, or take your work to the beach. Bring your internet connection to Uni, School, the library, or even browse through your favourite websites at your local café."

Unwired


Word of the bundle surfaced a couple of weeks after one a member of the whirlpool forums suggested Australian Mac users not purchase any of the company's existing AirPort express products because he'd learned through his employer that "there will be new Airport Extreme and Airport Express within the next few weeks."

It's unclear if the two rumors are related.