With iOS 11.3, iBooks will become a thing of the past. Technically. The beta for the new iOS has shown that the app will have a slight adjustment to its name, changing from “iBooks” to the slightly simpler “Books.”
In addition to the name change, Books will have more functionality. For instance, it will gain a “marketplace” feature which is similar to the App Store, where e-book and audiobook lovers can browse for new purchases. The good news doesn’t end there. There’s been an interface overhaul which will give the app a much-needed aesthetic makeover. Not only will it look better, but the usability will be better, too.
The simpler interface will make the app far easier to use – especially seeing as it includes a “Reading Now” section which lists all the books you’re currently reading. For students, editors, publishers and avid readers, this is a feature which is long overdue. There’s no doubt it will be widely celebrated upon the release of iOS 11.3 in spring 2018.
News regarding the iBooks redesign isn’t exactly surprising. Last month, Apple hired a senior vice president from Audible – Amazon’s audiobook division – and gave him the new title of “Global Head of iBooks.” This strongly suggests that Apple is ready to take on audiobook giant Amazon head-to-head, in a battle to be named as the number one e-book seller. But this isn’t the first time Apple has attempted to take over Amazon’s place in the audiobook world. Nearly five years ago, Apple and five publishers attempted to inflate prices of e-books in order to de-rank Amazon’s dominant position in the e-book and audiobook world.
With an overhaul of design, usability, and strategy, will Apple finally succeed in their quest to command the ebook and audiobook market? Time will tell. But for now, keep your eyes on the iOS 11.3 beta for any further changes.