AirPort Express (Windows 2000/XP and Mac OS X)
Apple, one of the early adopters of both wireless networking and digital music, has created a fusion of the two technologies that will appeal to almost anyone. For those interested in the wireless networking capabilities, the AirPort Express is a fully capable 802.11g wireless router and USB print server that will fit in the palm of your hand. Road warriors will appreciate the fact that with its small size, the Airport Express can be easily tossed into a laptop bag for travel. It can then be used in hotel rooms with an Ethernet network to create a wireless connection to the Internet. While not the most hyped function of the AirPort Express, the portability has me wishing I'd had one for my recent trip to Los Angeles. The feature that Apple seems to be promoting the most heavily is the ability to connect the AirPort Express to your home stereo and wirelessly listen to music stored on your computer. Using new functionality called AirTunes, Apple's iTunes software automatically detects the connection of your stereo to the AirPort Express and allows you to send your music directly to the stereo. Because the wireless music features are tied directly into iTunes, you will not want to buy the AirPort Express for listening to music unless iTunes is your digital jukebox of choice. If you do decide to pick up an AirPort Express, don't forget to update iTunes to support the AirTunes wireless music feature.