Apple today launched version 6.0 of its AirPort Utility that enhances the networking experience for those using its networking products.
The new version lets you do all that you can do with the previous version (version 5.5.3), but with a more streamlined interface that resembles that of Apple's apps.
I tried the new version briefly with an AirPort Extreme, and the software quickly detected the router and showed two icons, one for the Internet and the other for the router itself. Since the router was running older firmware, there was a badge notification on its icon suggesting that there was something that needed to be done. When I clicked on the icon, there was an option to upgrade the router to the latest firmware and with another click the upgrading was done. It was quick and easy.
As it turned out, these two icons were the full extension of the "graphical overview of your Wi-Fi network and devices" that was indicated on Apple's page for the new version. I was hoping that the utility would show a map of connected devices, but that wasn't the case.
To be fair, the two icons offer a quick way to access a lot of information about the network. Clicking on the Internet icon, for example, will show the current WAN IP address, DNS server, and so on. And when you click on the router's icon, you'll also see a list of connected Wi-Fi clients. Unfortunately there's no way you can copy and paste that information to a text editor, so get a pencil ready in case you want to keep it.
That said, the new AirPort Utility 6.0 is a cool upgrade but not a must-have. And that's a good thing since many of you will miss out on it: AirPort Utility 6.0 for now requires Mac OS 10.7.2 or later and isn't available for Windows.
The new 6.0 version of the AirPort Utility can be downloaded via Lion's Software Update or at Apple's support site.