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Seven months after iOS 11 was unveiled, the software is still incomplete

by Brandon Russell | January 5, 2018January 5, 2018 1:00 pm PDT

Apple announced iOS 11 nearly seven months ago, introducing features like ARKit, a redesigned Control Center, and Apple Pay Cash, the latter of which allows users to easily send and receive payments. These features are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s one of Apple’s most important iOS releases in years. The only problem is the experience still isn’t complete.

When iOS 11 was introduced last summer, Apple unveiled a number of exciting features, many of which were delivered on time without issue. But the software remains unfinished—at least, the experience Apple promised at WWDC still hasn’t been released. Could all of iOS 11’s issues be to blame?

To say the launch of iOS 11 has been rocky is a major understatement. There have been autocorrect quirks, system-wide crashing, and more, leaving Apple to continuously put out fires. Even now, over three months after iOS 11 launched, people are still complaining about issues.

No software release is perfect, but it seems as though the launch of iOS 11 has been particularly exacerbating for Apple. Not to mention, the company recently admitted to slowing down old iPhones—all of which could potentially be taking focus off development of new features as Apple does damage control.

I don’t know the technical hurdles behind Messages in iCloud, so there could very well be engineering behind the feature’s delay. But seeing as Apple teased the feature last summer, I can’t for the life of me think of why it’s not available. Apple hasn’t shared a possible launch timeline and there’s been little evidence of its existence in iOS betas, suggesting the feature won’t be available anytime soon.

Messages in iCloud is particularly exciting for Apple users because it seamlessly syncs the company’s iMessage platform between devices, among other features. Now, when deleting a message, they’ll be deleted from all devices, rather than just one. Users have previously been able to send iMessages from all of their devices but syncing has always been a problem.

Additionally, Apple has yet to launch AirPlay 2, an upgraded version of the company’s wireless audio streaming feature. The most exciting feature of AirPlay 2 is multi-room audio playback—a feature that’s already been available from iTunes on a Mac or PC. Now, your iPhone will be able to wirelessly play audio to multiple speakers simultaneously.

It’s very likely Apple is saving this feature for the launch of HomePod, the company’s upcoming smart home speaker. But Apple hasn’t shared an official launch date for that speaker, so there’s no telling when AirPlay 2 will be available. In fact, there’s no telling when any of these promised features will be available.

Which is hugely disappointing. For as good as Apple is about updating older devices to its latest software, the company has seriously dropped the ball when delivering promised features. Apple recently released a new beta for iOS 11.2.5, but it’s likely we’ll have to wait another two or three months before iOS 11 is complete. By then, we’ll be on the verge of the next WWDC, when Apple will take the wraps off iOS 12.

With everything that’s gone on over the last few months, Apple has shown uncharacteristic transparency about the challenges ahead, something customers appreciate. But the fact that is hasn’t said much about these promised features is worrying. Hopefully, the company shares an update soon, because it’s hard to get excited about a feature that’s never released.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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