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Apple software update hints at new wireless gear

New code dug up in an Apple software update offers clues that new versions of Apple's wireless networking hardware are around the corner.

Wireless logo

Code from a software update for Apple's AirPort Utility software that went out last night has been found to contain references to unreleased Apple wireless networking hardware.

9to5Mac and MacRumors both independently dug up mentions of a fourth-generation Time Capsule as well as a fifth-generation AirPort Extreme base station in the code that went out as part of the update. Those product iterations have not yet been announced by Apple.

Ahead of last week's Worldwide Developers Conference, rumor had it that Apple was planning to update both these products alongside AirPort Express, Apple's entry-level wireless networking product. Those updates were said to include a feature that would allow the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models to fetch software updates from Apple and store them on the device to allow for faster delivery.

Mentions of such a feature still exist as part of this new update after having shown up previously, suggesting that the feature could be around the corner. There are, however no signs of iCloud integration, asa report ahead of WWDC had suggested.

Apple's last major updates to the Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme hardware came in 2009 with the release of a model that combined 2.5GHz and 5GHz dual-bands, as well as new antenna designs that Apple promised would bring 50 percent better performance, and 25 percent better range than the previous-generation product. The AirPort Express has gone slightly longer without a major hardware update, receiving a bump to 802.11n and adding a new bridging mode in early 2008.

Hints of upcoming hardware updates frequently crop up in Apple code. Of course they're more exciting when they're about next-generation versions of the iPhone and iPad versus a wireless router.