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Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Teardown of Apple's new AirPort Extreme finds enough empty space for a hard drive

Apple's new tower-shaped AirPort Extreme is simple to take apart, and utilizes the same design layout as the company's new Time Capsule, including space for a 3.5-inch hard drive.

Extreme


Upon removing the top cover of the new AirPort Extreme, iFixit found in its teardown that the device includes 3.5 inches of empty space. The solutions provider was able to fit a standard-sized 3.50inch SATA hard drive inside the device without issue.

However, there are no connectors included with the AirPort Extreme that would allow users to add a hard drive to the inside of the router. Apple is presumably just using the same design for its new AirPort Extreme as it is with the updated Time Capsule, which comes with internal storage options of two and three terabytes of data.

Extreme


The repairability of the new AirPort Extreme was praised, with the device being given a score of 8 out of 10 by iFixit. Along with the Apple TV and Mac mini, it is said to be one of the most repairable Apple devices in recent history.

Specifically, the new 802.11ac-capable router is held together by a minimal amount of glue and standard Torx screws. That will make getting inside the AirPort Extreme easier for enthusiasts and experts.

Extreme


The AirPort Extreme includes six antenna cables that run up the center device and attach to a plate at the top, which functions as the antenna. The new 802.11ac Wi-Fi promises speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps, which is triple the rate of the previous 802.11n models.

In another design change, the updated AirPort Extreme has moved the power supply — a Delta Electronics 12V 5A unit — to the inside of the device. That allows for the device's cable to eschew a bulky "power brick."

Extreme


iFixit also found the following chips included on the AirPort Extreme logic board:
  • Broadcom BCM53019 router SOC with gigabit switch
  • Broadcom BCM4360KLMG
  • Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 512 MB synchronous DRAM
  • Micron 25Q256A 32 MB serial flash
  • Skyworks 5003L1 WLAN power amplifier
  • Skyworks 2623L high power WLAN power amplifier
  • TDK TLA-7T201HF

The new AirPort Extreme and two new Time Capsule models, unveiled at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, are Apple's first 802.11ac routers. Currently, they are only compatible with the latest MacBook Airs in Apple's lineup, though it's expected that future devices will take advantage of the faster Wi-Fi connectivity.