Since both OS X and Windows see TC drives as regular shared drives, it's even more frustrating that there's no general NAS support in Time Machine -- Airport Extreme owners, in particular, are likely very unhappy
, especially since Time Capsule has no problem
using external USB storage for backups. We asked Apple about it and got a non-answer; we hope they eventually do the right thing.
The just-a-drive nature of Time Capsule also means that it can't do a lot of the things a lot of readers asked about: sure, you can put your iTunes library on it, but it's not a media server, and pointing several computers to the same iTunes library is asking for trouble. Similarly, you can't stream directly to an Apple TV or 360 or whatever -- it just doesn't show up.
The new Airport Utility is very slick, walking you through all kinds of network setups (including complicated dual-5GHz / 2.4GHz systems and WDS chains) and even providing semi-real-time diagnostics:
Disk management options are limited, however: you can erase the drive and change some access settings, and that's about it. You certainly can't partition it or change the formatting or anything. You can enable WAN access if you care to expose all your data to the outside world.
Overall, Time Capsule does exactly what Apple told us it would do: make it easier for the vast majority of users to start backing up regularly over their network. That's to be commended, and if you're a Mac user and you've got the coin, there's no reason not to consider a Time Capsule when the time comes to replace your router -- we've always found Airport devices to be rock-solid, and Time Capsule is no exception. But if you're using a PC, it's not like you need the Time Machine support -- and if you own an Airport Extreme, you have every right to be peeved about the fact that what's essentially the same hardware won't let you back up to AirDisk. Let's hope 10.5.3 makes Time Capsule a little easier to swallow.