Apple Tested USB Hard Disk Support for 2012 AirPort Express

Apple may have considered including USB hard drive support in the AirPort Express initially released in June of 2012, according to an early support manual unearthed by French site Journal Du Lapin (via iPhone in Canada).

Available in PDF format, the older manual references a section suggesting a USB hard disk or USB hub could be connected to the AirPort Express, allowing all computers on the network to access those devices.

airport_express_2012
Connect a self-powered USB hard disk to your AirPort Express. All of the computers on the AirPort network can access the information on the hard disk.

Connect a USB hub to your AirPort Express, and then connect multiple USB devices, such as printers or hard disks. All of the computers on the AirPort network can access those devices.
These references are not found in the final product's manual [PDF], which only includes a section on connecting a USB printer to the device. USB hard disk compatibility would have potentially allowed the lower-cost AirPort Express to function in the same way as the more expensive AirPort Extreme, suggesting Apple possibly once considered merging these two products before making the decision to release the AirPort Express without external hard drive compatibility.

While Apple's AirPort Extreme retails for $199 and includes the ability to connect to a USB hard drive that can be accessed by all computers on the network for sharing and storing files, the AirPort Express, priced $100 less at $99, remains a no-frills entry level WiFi solution for consumers for the time being.

Top Rated Comments

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21 weeks ago
It would have also been nice for Apple to include Airplay and stereo audio output on the Extreme and Time Capsule.
Rating: 15 Votes
21 weeks ago
bring back the wall plug form factor
Rating: 11 Votes
21 weeks ago
How about adding Airplay to Airport Extreme instead of making people double dip to get a Airport Express at the same would be the smartest move for Apple.
Rating: 5 Votes
21 weeks ago
I have one of these, great product. Would be wonderful if I could attach a USB hard disk to it for time machine backups!
Rating: 4 Votes
21 weeks ago

Functionally, the only thing the Extreme has is extra ethernet ports.


Bigger, more powerful antennas too.
Rating: 4 Votes
21 weeks ago

Even with that functionality, the Airport Extreme is a cleaner, more integrated solution so most people would have bought the Extreme anyway.


Huh?

Functionally, the only thing the Extreme has is extra ethernet ports.
Rating: 3 Votes
21 weeks ago
It pisses me off that they crippled the Airport Express. I imagine a firmware update would allow network disk access from an Airport Express.
Rating: 2 Votes
21 weeks ago

bring back the wall plug form factor


Yes please!
Hands down the best form factor yet.
Would like ATV/AEBS combo in current ATV form factor, express in wall plug form factor.
Rating: 2 Votes
21 weeks ago
Would be nice if they incorporated AirPrint into the Airport - effectively turning any printer into an AirPrint printer. Not being able to print from my iDevice because my printer is too old is a drag.
Rating: 2 Votes
21 weeks ago

Huh?

Functionally, the only thing the Extreme has is extra ethernet ports.


I believe the Extreme also has Gigabit Ethernet in those ports while the Express doesn't. Plus the Wifi is up to ac standard. So at least on paper it's faster.
Rating: 2 Votes

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