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As most people have noticed, Apple, Inc. quietly dropped a new AirPort Extreme Tuesday. And most of those people noticed that besides the “N” upgrade, the other new feature Apple added to the AirPort Extreme is Instant Drive Sharing. Basically, the new AirPort Extreme has USB 2.0 port and when you attach any USB 2.0 disk drive to it, it automatically shares the drive to anyone on the network. This has been possible for a long time with “NAS” (Network Attached Storage) drive enclosures, but the new AirPort turns any external drive into a “NAS” drive.
Now, what does this have to do with Leopard? While I cannot say this with 100% confidence, I’m willing to bet that this new feature is not just there for convenience, but to directly supplement the new Time Machine feature coming this summer in OS X 10.5. Time Machine, if you have been under a rock, is Apple’s new file back up software. Now, backing up is a great idea, but it’s a bit pointless to back something up to the same drive or the same computer. Are you catching on here? Hook up a drive to the AirPort, and instant back up source. Pretty slick if you ask me.
The other interesting thing that has nothing to do with Leopard, but that one can totally read into the AirPort extreme is that FireWire is officially dead, since a USB port are included and not a single FireWire, but that’s for another totally unsubstantiated post.