IOS 11.3 Books app confirms Apple Books Store overhaul

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A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is ready to dive back into ebooks, and points to evidence hiding in the iOS 11.3 beta that a revamped ebooks app is in the works. Ultimately, we reported at the time, Apple was forced to pony-up a whopping $450 million fine to settle the claims. But the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and publishers in 2012, alleging they orchestrated a scheme to raise the price of e-books.

This will be the biggest change to the Books store since its introduction, with a new design similar to the new App Store introduced with iOS 11 and new features such as the Reading Now tab.

Expected to be announced in the coming months, the update will also bring a host of new features to Apple's e-books platform, including a top-to-bottom App Store-inspired UI refresh, an all-new section for audiobooks, new Tabs and more, according to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

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The period since then has seen Amazon.com Inc. cement its leadership position in the e-book market. Apple is also dropping the "i" from the app's moniker, so its updated version will simply be called "Books".

The e-commerce giant had just over 83 percent of the USA e-book market in early 2017, up from 74 percent in October 2015, according to AuthorEarnings, which tracks book sales for writers and other industry participants. So the pressure is on to pursue all available opportunities, including e-books and audio books. Last month, the iPhone X maker hired Kashif Zafar, who previously served as a senior vice president for Amazon's Audible audio books business.

Apple's renewed effort highlights its different approach to software services and hardware, compared with Amazon. 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. Apple sells e-books to make its high-priced devices more attractive, making money on the sale of the hardware.

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