I completely disagree with John Gruber on Time Capsule and here’s why

In response to John’s Keynote Roundup about Apple’s new Time Capsule, I wrote to him:

Hi John,

I saw your glowing review of Time Capsule and wanted to point out a few things.

1) Backups should be reliable.

Sure, a “server grade” hard disk that supports the proper buffer flush commands is great, but you are wedding a router and a backup. What happens when:

1a) The router dies, and you lose the backup while the router is fixed. 1b) You find out the router does not pass the new VPN your fiancé’s company uses (like I am stuck with in the current router), and now you have a very expensive WAP, just to have a backup 1c) Your hard drive dies, and you lose your router while the hard disk is replaced.

2) Backups should be movable

Again, being stuck inside of the router makes it impossible to move this backup offsite for any reason. You need another backup, or a second time capsule. You should be able to take a full time machine and archive it if you like. You cannot with the Time Capsule. You have to allow files to be deleted, or stop using it altogether.

What Apple should have done:

A) Made the USB port on existing extremes work. AirDisk works very poorly now.

B) Supplied this disk as a USB/FW drive, with the proper flush commands.

C) Sold Time Capsule as a Airport Extreme N router with firewire, and the drive from B.

Ca) Or even better, had a drive sit below the router on a eSata bus connector, so you can buy/swap more capsules.


This is an awful product because it ties people’s sense of backup security in with another piece of hardware, a router, which can fail, or need to be replaced, thus putting either component of the capsule at risk. It is similar to using two drives striped Raid 0 for a backup, thus doubling your chance of backup failure.


I have a large amount of respect for John and his body of work. I just don’t want to see customers use this product expecting to have a reliable backup system.