Two of iOS 17's coolest features have been delayed until 2024 and it sets a worrying precedent

Apple Music on iPhone beside HomePod mini
(Image credit: Future)

When Apple announced iOS 17 back in June of 2023 as part of the big WWDC event, there were plenty of new features unveiled. Most of them made the big September release date while others have appeared in dribs and drabs via smaller software updates ever since. That continued with the recent iOS 17.2 update, with features like the hotly anticipated Journal app finally coming to the iPhone. But there are still some features missing.

To be specific, there are two features that are yet to make it out of Apple Park and we don't know for sure when they'll arrive. Apple says that both the ability to use AirPlay in hotel rooms and enjoy collaborative Apple Music playlists are still coming, and that they'll be with us at some unspecified point in 2024. It's good news that the features are still on the way, but it's strange that they haven't yet arrived.

That's especially true for the collaborative playlist feature considering it was part of earlier iOS 17.2 betas before being removed. And the fact that two features that have pride of place on Apple's iOS 17 webpage won't arrive until 2024 isn't a great look.

Missing features

None of this is helped by the fact that these two features are ones that will be very useful once they finally ship, of course.

The AirPlay feature in particular could be a huge boon for those who travel a lot. Apple's updated webpage says that the feature is "coming in an update in 2024, with the feature allowing users to "scan a QR code on a hotel room TV and then "securely share videos, photos, and music from your iPhone to the TV." For anyone who just wants to catch up on the latest must-watch Apple TV Plus show, that could be a huge addition. And it isn't yet clear why it's one that couldn't make its way into iOS 17.2 or a previous version, for that matter.

The second feature is one that Apple Music fans will surely enjoy when it ships because it will allow people to "Invite friends to join your playlist and everyone can add, reorder, and remove songs." You'll even be able to "use emoji to react to the song choices in Now Playing" if that's your jam, too.

With Apple saying that both of these features will now ship in 2024, we're all in something of a holding pattern. With a 12-month time window, there is plenty of wiggle room there. The saving grace? In a year when the Vision Pro will ship and Apple is expected to unveil a plethora of new iPads, we can only expect that Apple will want to get these features out of the door soon so it can focus on other things. And let's not forget that iOS 18 will start to be a very real concern soon — it's likely to be previewed during WWDC in June with the first beta dropping the same day.

A matter of faith

While we can be relatively sure that these two features will eventually arrive, it isn't a great look for things to get delayed in this way. It's doubtful that we have another AirPower on our hands of course, but when features get delayed it puts further strain on future updates.

Flash forward to June 2024 and iOS 18's unveiling. It's difficult to assume everything Apple shows off will ship when it says it will when two features announced a whole year before only landed a few months ago. This isn't the first time Apple has had to delay things, and it probably won't be the last. There has long been a suggestion that Apple should ditch the one-big-update-a-year method of software development in favor of more frequent, smaller feature additions. If Apple keeps biting off more than it can chew those calls are likely to return.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.