Many developers were expecting the release of AirPlay 2 along with the third beta of iOS 11.3. While the latter went live as anticipated, Apple noticeably did not include AirPlay 2. There are now reports hinting on the move's possible implications to the HomePod's features.
iDownloadBlog was the one of the first ones to notice that the third beta of iOS 11.3, as well as the tvOS 11.3, had been released without AirPlay 2. The latter had been present in the previous developer releases of the said operating systems.
While quite disappointing, there could be a good reason for the removal of AirPlay 2 from the newest betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3. MacRumors commented that the earlier releases of AirPlay 2 were nothing close to perfect and efficient as it arrived with flaws that made it impossible to maximize its use.
This is one probable reason why Apple deemed it was better to take its time in making AirPlay 2 better before releasing it again in the wild.
Ultimately, this might also signal a delay in the release of AirPlay 2's full version that was initially expected to happen sometime in spring. Now, iOS and tvOS users could be looking through to the latter part of the year to have access to AirPlay 2.
The AirPlay feature practically allows iOS devices to project photos and videos to an Apple TV system. AirPlay 2, which was introduced in the earlier beta releases of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, started letting users also play their music simultaneously on various hardware devices at home. This was made possible by the multi-room audio feature that, as the name suggests, enabled the playing of music even when these devices were placed in separate rooms.
The development of AirPlay 2 was also obviously designed with the HomePod in mind. While the device can be technically categorized as a smart speaker given its Siri support, its features as a smart home system is not close to what the Amazon Echo and Google Home offer. This implies that the full version of AirPlay 2 could have greatly made the HomePod one of the most efficient smart speakers in the market.