Apple is working on a major revamp of its iBooks reading app on iOS devices, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books now being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched past year, according to people familiar with its development. There are new icons for book categories and other app sections, including a new icon for the "Reading Now" feature mentioned in the original report.
Other developments including its December, 2017 hiring of Kashif Zafar - a former senior vice president of Amazon's audiobooks business, Audible - lend even further credence to Apple's bold new e-book ambitions.
Apple's ebooks business suffered a setback in 2016, when the company was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay $400 million to consumers and another $50 million in legal fees for conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices. There's also a new digital book store within the app that's said to be similarly created to Apple's current App Store, which received a drastic redesign in iOS 11.
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The update should revive Apple's digital books business and re-establish the company as an Amazon competitor. It looks like Apple wants to take the fight back to Amazon in the digital book market now. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook past year set a goal of doubling revenues from mobile services by 2020.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Prior to his time at Amazon he served as the content vice president for book retailer Barnes & Noble's Nook ebook reader division.
Apple's renewed effort highlights its different approach to software services and hardware, compared with Amazon.