Supply of Apple's Time Capsule hardware is reportedly becoming scarce in the days ahead of the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, a sign that a new version of the product could be just around the corner.
Time Capsule, which was released at the beginning of 2008, combines a wireless router with a hard drive, giving users a way to store files on the device. It's also tied to Apple's built-in Time Machine backup software, which made its debut as a part of Leopard. That software is able to tap into the Time Capsule to wirelessly store backups of a user's applications and settings.
The timing around said shortage is of special interest given Apple's upcoming presentation of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," the follow-up to Snow Leopard. It includes a new feature called "versions" that makes Apple's Time Machine feature more granular, saving different iterations of a document every time it's opened, and on the hour. Apple has also said it will be unveiling its iCloud service, which could make use of the Time Capsule hardware for ferrying data back and forth between the cloud and Apple devices.
9to5mac reports that Apple has been working on one such software tool in-house, which automatically fetches software updates based on the products that have been connected to it. That means the next time an iPhone software update is released, it would quietly download it for you to have it ready the next time you ran the update, potentially saving time that would be spent downloading it from Apple's servers.
Apple's last major updates to the Time Capsule 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 to bring 50 percent better performance, and 25 percent better range than the previous-generation product.
Apple kicks off next week's WWDC with a keynote address by CEO Steve Jobs. Besides iCloud, the company has said it will take the wraps off iOS 5, the software that runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.