iOS 11.3 beta 4 brings back ‘iBooks’ app

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iBooks
iBooks may not be ready for a big revamp.
Photo: Apple

The latest iOS 11.3 beta, rolled out to registered developers Monday, includes a small but significant change to one of Apple’s apps. “iBooks” has returned after briefly being renamed “Books.” The move could suggest a rumored revamp is currently on hold.

iBooks is one of a small number of Apple apps that still carries the iconic “i” prefix. The company has been slowly phasing out the “i,” choosing instead to include the brand in its product names such as Apple Music, Apple Watch and Apple Pencil.

Where is Apple Books?

iBooks was supposed to walk the same path. Apple changed its name to “Books” with the release of its first iOS 11.3 beta, among other new features and tweaks. A Bloomberg report promised a major overhaul that would include a redesigned app and storefront. Sources said it would launch when iOS 11.3 goes public this spring.

Now that looks unlikely. With its fourth iOS 11.3 beta, released Monday alongside new macOS and tvOS betas, Apple reverted to using the iBooks name. The app itself looks and performs just as it did before.

This could suggest the rumored Books revamp isn’t ready to make its public debut this spring, and that Apple plans to continue using the iBooks name until it is. It would make sense to hold onto it and rebrand the service when its new look is really ready.

Of course, it could just be a simple mistake in iOS 11.3 beta 4. Apple’s next beta release will provide a better indication of the company’s immediate plans for the iBooks app. It would make more sense to showcase a big redesign at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June before rolling it out to all in iOS 12 this fall.