Since 1999, when Steve Jobs introduced the iBook as the first portable computer with Wi-Fi capabilities, Apple has used the term AirPort to refer to 802.11 wireless connectivity. The rest of the world knows this technology by the name Wi-Fi, and it appears that with the upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple will be changing references to wireless networking from "AirPort" to "Wi-Fi" across the system.
The change resolves a common issue for Mac neophytes, who often search in vain for Wi-Fi controls on their new Macs only to find something confusingly called AirPort. The name change may also explain recent reports that Apple's networking products -- the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule -- are in short supply at some Apple Stores. Perhaps a Wi-Fi product refresh and a change in branding will both accompany the Lion launch next month.
Will you miss the AirPort name on Apple products if it does disappear, or do you think it was a confusing proprietary moniker? Leave your comments below.
Apple AirPort Extreme 6th-gen
Apple Mac OS X Lion