According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple will revamp the iBooks app later this year with a major redesign, with a new ‘Reading Now’ tab, a separate section for audiobooks and a store interface that draws from the same design language as the iOS 11 App Store.
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As seen in the iOS 11.3 beta, Apple will rebrand the iBooks app to just ‘Books’ and the iBookstore will become known as the ‘Apple Books Store’. The app itself has almost no changes in the current beta, although the dark theme now uses a true black background color on iPhone X.
Here’s how Bloomberg describes the changes currently in development:
The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year, according to people familiar with its development. The revamped app in testing includes a new section called Reading Now and a dedicated tab for audio books, the people said.
It makes sense that new features and a new design are set to follow the renaming. The Bloomberg report also details an internal leadership shakeup for the Apple Books team.
The report says that Apple’s ebooks projects were put to one side following the Department of Justice ruling that Apple’s contracts were anti-competitive. Apple was subjected to a $450 million dollar fine, ultimately.
However, it seems that Apple is now interested in growing iBooks once again. Bloomberg says Kashif Zafar is now leading the Books team, whom Apple hired from Audible where he was an SVP.
iBooks as a service has remained mostly unchanged for many years, although more recently Apple moved audiobooks from the Music app to the iBooks app. Even then, the HomePod does not appear to play purchased audiobooks, so there are plenty of loose ends in Apple’s books ecosystem to be rectified.
The report says the overhaul could launch in the coming months. This may mean as part of iOS 11.3 or it could be an iOS 12 feature, even if the rebranding of the iBooks app to ‘Books’ happens sooner.