An unearthed filing has revealed that Apple sent aNetworkAdapter to the FCC for approval, but it's not clear if it's an AirPort successor or something else.
Apple discontinued the AirPort range of consumer networking products.Whenever a company designs a device for use in the United States that uses radio frequencies like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it must get FCC regulatory approval. According to documents shared by the FCC, Apple sent a "Network Adapter" with the model number A2657 to the agency on January 22, with the following description.
A2657 is a network adapter. It has an integral battery, two gigabit ethernet ports, USB-C connector and antenna. The device supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n radio, Bluetooth radio, and NFC. The network adapter comes with 32 GB memory storage and 1.5 GB RAM.
The device is intended to be connected to a host computer and receive its power through a USB-A port during normal use.
The documents suggest that the device is powered by Apple Silicon, and that it runs the 19F47 firmware, which matches an early internal version of the operating system. The device was tested by connecting it to an iMac, but Apple requested a non-disclosure agreement that will last until November 2022.
There are some telltale signs in the description that it is unlikely to be related to a forthcoming consumer product.
The device doesn't seem to have support for the wireless networking standard. The new name for the standard of wireless internet is known as wi-fi 5, and it has been replaced by wi-fi 6.
Most modern commercial and consumer Apple devices support both the 5 GHz and the 2.4 GHz bands, but the 5 GHz spectrum usually offers the best performance. The AirPort Extreme base station operated on both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz radio bands.
The device is intended to receive its power through a USB-A port during normal use.
Apple stopped development on its AirPort line of products in the year 2018, and has since sold third-party routers. Apple has many FCC-certified devices that are only intended for internal use, and this filing relates to another device that falls into that category.