Apple has a redesign for its iBooks app in the works, according to a new report by Bloomberg, as part of a plan to once again try to take on Amazon in the digital book market. People familiar with the project have revealed that the new app, which will be released in the coming months, is expected to include a simpler user interface and a redesigned digital bookstore that will borrow its cues from the iOS 11 App Store redesign. The app will include a new section called “Reading Now” along with a dedicated tab for audiobooks, according to the report.
This project represents the most significant update to Apple’s e-book platform in several years, and the report suggests that it’s a signal of Apple’s return to the Amazon-dominated market following a ruling against Apple in an e-book price fixing scheme several years ago that saw the company return to its focus on Apple Music and the App Store. More recently, however, Apple hired Kashif Zafar, a senior vice president from Amazon’s audio book division Audible to lead its revived Books efforts.
The first developer betas of iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 released yesterday also appear to signal this move, with the “iBooks” iOS app getting renamed to simply “Books” (although the App Store continues to list it as “iBooks”), and the macOS app now featuring a “Welcome to Apple Books” intro screen. A report by 9to5Mac also found assets in the iOS 11.3 Books app that seem to confirm the report, with new icons for book categories and other app sections, including a “Reading Now” icon, along with references to features such as “Want to Read”, “Award Winners”, “Staff Picks”, and “Rave reviews” along with additional references to audiobooks.