I'm beginning to think that Steve Jobs hates cords.

First, at Macworld Expo, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) introduced the new MacBook Air, whose less-than-an-inch-thick frame shuns all but a handful of cords. Even the Air's super-sleek power supply looks chunky next to the laptop's slender frame.

Now, Apple says it will update its AirPort Express wireless router to deliver 802.11n Wi-Fi. That's remarkably cool for two reasons. First, if you haven't yet seen one, the AirPort Express plugs directly into a wall outlet. No cords required, save perhaps an Ethernet cord from your cable modem or DSL box, which makes delivering Wi-Fi to a network of Macs or PCs pretty simple.

Second, 802.11n is a disruptive technology, in that it greatly increases the range and speed by which data can be served wirelessly. Here's how authors at Wikipedia put it:

IEEE 802.11n builds on previous 802.11 standards by adding multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and 40 MHz operation to the physical layer. MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to improve the system performance ... If properly implemented, 40-MHz channels can provide greater than two times the usable channel bandwidth of two 802.11 legacy channels.

That may be stretching it a bit.

Nevertheless, by rolling out 802.11n early, Apple puts pressure on networking rivals NetGear (Nasdaq: NTGR) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) to update their products, and pushes PC peers Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) to cut the cord in more functional, if not more artful, ways. Smart move.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Apple, Dell, and NetGear are all Stock Advisor selections. Dell is also an Inside Value pick. Try either of these market-beating services free for 30 days, with no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor and and Rule Breakers writer Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. You can find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog entry here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy cut the cord years ago.