Apple have just released AirPort Express – a wireless adapter that lets Mac and PC users set up an instant 802.11g network at home.
The seven ounce box fits into the palm of your hand and is essentially a 802.11g transceiver with an audio out connection on it – plug your stereo into it, and it’ll play music streamed to it from your iTunes-equipped PC or Macintosh. AirTunes even has a feature to select which AirPort Express adaptor receives music.
The unit also contains a mains adapter so it can be plugged directly into the mains without any further cables.
You can do all the usual things with AirPort Express too – share your internet connection and printers, and the unit has a built in USB port and network socket.
AirPort Express costs US$129 (€105), which might seem a little on the pricey side for a 802.11g transceiver with only one network port on it, but then this one is based around being easy to use, acts as a repeater, contains the AirTunes circuitry and has Apple’s usual lovely stylings. Home wireless kit is currently very ugly and is not as straightforward to set up as some manufacturers would have you believe. With AirPort’s design heritage and simplification of the wireless networking concept, if anyone can get 802.11g to go mainstream, it’s Apple. Promoting the unit to PCs users is a great idea, as Apple no doubt learned from making the iPod PC-compatible. Apple’s Airport Express