At last, iBooks and iTunes U apps gets iOS 7 look

At last, iBooks and iTunes U apps gets iOS 7 look

iOS 7's release introduced a new visual interface for the operating system, and Apple updated most of its own apps to take advantage. Two notable standouts were iBooks. That was remedied today when Apple posted iBooks 3.2 and iTunes U 1.4 to the App Store.

With the initial release of iOS 7, iBooks retained a "skeuomorphic" look, displaying books in a wooden bookcase motif. But with iBooks 3.2, that real world simulation is gone. What's left is a clean, minimalistic look that better reflects the iOS 7 aesthetic.

iTunes U gives you access to complete courses from leading universities. Like iBooks, the iTunes U app wasn't updated with iOS 7's new look and feel when the new operating system bowed in September. But concurrently with the launch of iBooks 3.2, Apple has posted iTunes U 1.4, which also brings the interface in line with the iOS 7 aesthetic.

Apple notes no other changes for either version besides the interface update.

Apple is systematically getting rid of all traces of skeuomorphism in iOS 7, to match the new iOS 7 design. I doubt it'll ever go away completely, even in Apple's apps: a practical example is GarageBand, which uses dials, switches and instrument controls that mirror their real-world counterparts in form and function. But iBooks and iTunes U are two places where skeuomorphism just simply isn't necessary, so it's good to see them improve consistency with the rest of the OS.

Are you a heavy iBooks user? Do you download courses through iTunes U? Are you happy with the interface changes, or were you content with the bookshelf interface? Sound off in the comments - I want to know.


iTunes U:

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 68 comments. Add yours.

Adil Ali2 says:

This is so good phone..!!

RidhwaanAziz says:

Apple's iOS 7 App's have no personality anymore. I am actually missing the iOS 6 an older design of some apps; Pages and Podcasts are just blank, soulless interfaces of white. Terrible.

Master Jedi Alejandro says:

I really like the new design. The iBooks app finally doesn't look out of place on my dock! Would have loved too see new fetures, though. Like being able to annotate PDFs.

TLKoontz says:

Honestly, I love ios 7, but the Apple apps have gotten very stark, sterile and clinical looking... The Trailers app is gorgeous. I think they would like to have made most of their apps look more similar to that, but we're too afraid of looking like Android.

ohohkhimee says:

i see ibooks now the ugliest ios7 app update

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JohnDavid_1 says:

I like the overall look of iOS 7 but I don't like the look of the new iBooks design. I loved the bookcase view & I'll miss it. I liked that some apps had their own distinctive look and as with iBooks, you always new exactly which app you were in. Now, not so much.

TLKoontz says:

The app itself is not a redesign, it's an anti-design! Read: AWFUL! Just like the calendar app, photos, App Store app, etcetera... Like I mentioned above, Trailers is the only one that has any life left in it.

I'm alright with the icon, though.

jamesbemery says:

The new iBooks design will take some getting used to. For me, the skeuomorphism worked. Maybe if they had made it look like a white shelf instead of the overlapping paper towels.

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applefanboi says:

I have been waiting for this forever! (Well since the launch of iOS 7...)

However, I like the design of the iBooks icon on mavericks more... I would have been happy with that, but I'm sure I'll get used to the new one. It looks much better with my other apps now. I know that shouldn't really matter, but it kills me to have apps with icons that haven't flattened out yet...

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benlee78 says:

I'm very glad not to have that old icon on my home screen, but honestly, I don't use iBooks all that much anyway. The only books I have purchased are the two Infinity Blade novellas :)

+1 to the person that suggested PDF annotations in iBooks! I'm using GoodReader right now, and it's a little overkill for what I need. A nice, simple solution from Apple would really hit the spot.

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angermeans says:

I saw this today. I use iTunes U all the time. It is an excellent app and I was so interested in the iOS 7 update. Thanks for letting me know iMore.

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Adrian Liu says:

As was the case with many apps on my iPod Touch 5g, the app appeared as the updated version, but downloaded the old version, which I had to subsequently update to the new version. Has anyone else encountered this?

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News_Dr2521 says:

The iBooks new design leaves a little bit to be desired, but it looks a heckuva lot better than newsstand. That by far is the ugliest thing I've seen on an iPhone to date.

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Adrian Liu says:

The iBooks, iTunes U, and Pages apps have almost identical background hues. And the icons are all white...

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clipps99 says:

The the new UI's are amazing with the new OS I love it

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jadesimian says:

When I first heard about the iBooks update, I was a little worried that it'd lose all its personality, particularly the page-turning animation. But I'm liking this new look. The bookcase looks like a clean, minimalist shelf, and the animation is still awesome. Text also somehow looks sharper against the flattened interface.

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Joshua Webb1 says:

I love the look of the new app icon but I wish there was a bit more colour in the app. Otherwise it's gr8.

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LK34 says:

I DO NOT like the new look to iBooks.

When my IPad was stolen last week and I had a plethora of tablets to choose from to replace it with.. I choose to stick with IPad (now Air) primarily because I love IBooks and the lovely wooden bookshelf.
I've had my new IPad now for one day and *poof*... My lovely bookshelves gone! (Can I roll back to an earlier version??)

I hope the wooden bookshelf is brought back as a 'skin' option!!!

mpnine says:

The iOS 6 purge Is almost complete!
Now if only they would update Find My Friends. The stitched leather has got to go! I'm not sure what the stitched leather was supposed to mimic anyway.

Serves no purpose in iBooks or FMF.

Honestly, I like the redesign, but can see what some people say about the lack of personality. I think Apple went clean sheet (literally) and will find ways to add character in future versions. Third party developers will also have an opportunity to expand on Apple's baseline designs.

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mpnine says:

The iOS 6 purge Is almost complete!
Now if only they would update Find My Friends. The stitched leather has got to go! I'm not sure what the stitched leather was supposed to mimic anyway.

Serves no purpose in iBooks or FMF.

Honestly, I like the redesign, but can see what some people say about the lack of personality. I think Apple went clean sheet (literally) and will find ways to add character in future versions. Third party developers will also have an opportunity to expand on Apple's baseline designs.

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Pmjackso Pmjackso says:

dont miss the ios6 design for a second !
just need to update the apple app 'find friends' and job done !

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weberm13 says:

About time. I haven't been able to use the app since iOS 7 came out.

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karmski says:

iBooks really stood out as a dinosaur in iOS 7. Showing iOS 7 skeptics the difference between iBooks & Newsstand was one was to immediate illustrate that wooden bookshelves did not improve the User experience. I am so happy about the new clean look of iBooks.

I was however very afraid that they may go the full hog and do away with the page turning animation, similar to Mavericks. So I am much relieved that this function still exists, as it makes book reading on iDevices so much more enjoyable. If it were gone I would feel like I was reading a document, not a book. Funnily it doesn't bother me in iBooks on Mavericks - probably because using a track pad to turn pages isn't quite the same experience as using a finger on an iDevice.

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Rob White says:

While I'm really liking the new trend toward minimalism in iOS 7, & I'm perfectly fine with the flat look that has become the norm, I'll admit that the move to simplify has in some ways left me wanting. The iWork apps as an example had me concerned but Apple has promised to restore lost functionality so maybe it's no cause for alarm.

Having said all of that, I'm actually happy that the admittedly hoky page turn animation made the cut. It's a small thing but the turning of a page, even a digital one, when reading a book adds to my enjoyment. If my Kindle Paperwhite had that small touch to go with its page like feel screen I'd be in reading heaven. But I just enjoy my iPad Mini so much I've all but abandoned my Kindle.

wnukolo says:

Didn't use iTunes U later on iPad. I will try it asap on iPhone now. Do you have some courses worth considering?

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Obsidian71 says:

Up is Down, Hate is Love, No Design is Design. Bleh. iOS 7 is poop aesthetically.

constantinecross says:

I love the new icon but i'm missing the shelf look. It kinda serves as your book collection area. Now my books looks like just flat icons unlike before which looks like real books. I like those because it's like you have this book collection on your iphone.

cburke1982 says:

Happy the burned all the "wood"

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CHOBiE says:

I'll miss the homy feel of iBooks :(

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Justin D says:

I hVe mixed feelings about the new iBooks design. I really like the icon, but the skeumorphic bound books on a modern gradient background looks awful!

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MGLeet says:

I was almost expecting these to be updated at some future education event. Guess I was wrong. It'd still be fun to see what Apple's next education initiatives are.

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Derrick4Real says:

i'm still on ios 6, but i looked at this online and in the app store. I find this (and many ios 7 apps) amazingly bland and sterile. I'm not fond of the look of the new ibooks. I always thought the function of the app was weird though. Not sure if that was changed. But it's sterile to me. It's like a hospital. I'm beginning to notice every app from every app maker darn near looks indistinguishable. It's not my thing honestly. To each his own. Glad i have choice.

BG Willis says:

Hate it. Absolutely hate it. No character. Just white space. I want my damn bookshelf back. It was hard enough giving up my actual books for ebooks. Now you take away the one thing that made it bearable? Morons.

djstarion says:

I love the new iBooks update. I'm glad they kept the page turning but love how cleaner it looks.

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katiethatsme says:

I actually though iBooks was the only app that actually rocked the skeuomorphic look. People are always saying how ebooks don't feel natural and prefer real books so iBooks had a good in between feel.
anyway I don't like ios7 iBooks, but I love all the other ios7 looks

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Hunter Harris 94 says:

It's about time, to be honest. The old bookshelf look will be missed, but things change.

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jngmin00 says:

the new icons used too much orange colour. They look horrible when you put it together in pages, ibooks, iTunes u order. I'm at least glad that apple updated the icon to iOS7 style.

svfd757 says:

Pleasant surprise this morning when I opened the iBooks app and noticed the wood grain was gone. Nice and clean. Love it

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jman0829 says:

I just read a comment saying that these apps are soulless but I disagree. I love iOS 7 and the way it feels. Without a doubt it has been the biggest update and it was about time for iBooks and iTunes U to get a facelift. I am not a big user of iBooks but i try to give it some love once in a while but iTunes U is my thing. In my opinion (I'm sorry if you don't agree with me) these apps look amazing and elegant.

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smileyboy says:

I'm liking iTunes U. It seems to load faster and is more fluid. Nice job Apple.

Lt_Solorna says:

Regarding iBooks: I like the way to switch the categories but they could've kept the bookshelf idea. Make it white instead of wood then it would look a little better. It would keep the iOS 7ism while keeping the original idea of a bookshelf. We need people to go to apple's website and ask them to do this idea. Maybe someone can do mock-ups and send them pics.

Sarcone says:

I haven't decided whether or not to update iBooks yet. I use that app pretty much everyday and while there are somethings I'd change about it, there are a lot of things I like. I will say I hated iBooks on mavericks so much that I deleted it. It totally messed up my book collection, and at over 1000 books and PDFs that's a big deal. Thankfully I had everything backed up and was able to recover my collection the way I had it. The new update for that version still didn't fix everything it broke, so I'm wary about this update as well. My policy is to always wait a week before updating anyway.

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jbscoelho says:

I also have many books and pdf files and i already updated my iBooks app.

Everything is working ok, but for me This is One app where i rather enjoyed the skewmorphism look!

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Justin Thiel says:

Ahhh... The refreshing update is here at last. I use iBooks as my preferred ebook library. The old wooden design worked at the time, but I love the new simplified look. It's more clean and modern. A solid update and I won't be missing the wooden bookshelves anytime soon.

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georojas says:

So I updated the iBooks app. Not a good choice! Love the new app icon, it finally fits in with iOS 7. But that's it! once I opened the app I was all like What the Heck!!! Where is my wooden bookcase? Maybe I'm over reacting, but I don't like the new look it looks plain, like it's missing something. I guess if we have to get used to it then so be it.

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BeyondtheTech says:

Gosh, iBooks looks so boring now. They still haven't put in an All category. I grab books outside of iTunes and they're either .epub or .pdf. Why do I have to keep switching back between the two?

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counterculture says:

I actually like the looks and it fits well with the iOS universe (obviously). Very Newsstand-esque

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counterculture says:

I actually like the looks and it fits well with the iOS universe (obviously). Very Newsstand-esque

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Vanessa Winn says:

These apps are as ugly as freaking hell now. I'm searching desperately to find a way to downgrade not only iBooks but Itune U, NewsStand and Podcast if I can. What is apples obsession to have everything this garish blinding boring plain whiteness?!?!?!? Flat monotone is the worst thing they can possibly do it's completely tasteless and bland. Not to mention the collection of flat ugly (worst color selection ever) icons who ever is behind this "brilliant design change" needs to be fired.

Jdeebad1 says:

I'm with you vanessa.
Ibooks actually was the last reason i stayed with apple
Guess ill go with android now.
As far as iOS 7 goes what about the the totally useless skinny font
I dont know about you but im not getting any younger.
What a shame, i just bought the new ipad air


RoboWarrior says:

Finally been waiting for this for a while.

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chrl98 says:

People are just bitching on the new interface. See for yourself on iTunes

Cory Shannon says:

Would be nice to set our own iBooks background. The plain white is boring.

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davjaxn says:

I really think Apple needs to find a balance between the stark, over simplified versions of its iOS 7 apps as they are now and the overdone, almost hokey real-world emulating designs of the past. This design of this update could use... Something.

Still, it succeeds where it needs to (as usual): usability. It is simple to use and effective.

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Tony Taylor 1006 says:

It's too sterile and stark. Has no personality or style. Put a little color and pizazz into it. I liked the wooden bookshelf. They should make it so you have choices of how you want your iBooks page to look.

evilokole says:

Finally. Old icon was awful. Something new and fresh.

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plooi says:

I would like to go back to the old iBooks! Now the higlighting and adding notes is so bad! :( it looks so flat ...

Dominique Peretti says:

More "palliative care" kind of look redesign. YAY !
They have now destroyed nearly everything Jobs had built.
Oh and you guys should have a look at what real world users think about this : read the users comments in the AppStore and enjoy !

allthingspixel says:

It's about time Apple got rid of the terrible simulated page edges around the perimeter of the app. I switched to the Readability app a long time ago for that reason and probably won't switch back to iBooks even with the update.

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zdn1042 says:

I'm not a big iBook user. I've been meaning to bring myself to read more so maybe someday. For the icon, love what they did with it. It really fits well with the overall design of iOS 7. Other than the icon and the bookshelf design, are there any other changes that were made?
And, I don't really use iTunes U so no comment there.

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canth1000 says:

I like ios 7. I do not like the new iBooks now. The only reason most of my digital library was in ibooks was because of the old bookshelf and paper book appearance. Now iBooks has exactly 0 appeal compared to other reader apps that are compatible across platforms.


I actually don't enjoy the new design all too much.

I'll say it's better than the old iOS6 design, but the collections view isn't as polished as it should be.

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Jason49 says:

I am so happy that iBooks has been updated! Really like the new app!

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PME64 says:

I like iOS7, but the new iBooks interface is the biggest disappointment I've had since buying my iPad a few years ago. The only reason I went with iBooks in the first place was the almost real book appearance. Now it feels like I'm reading a digital newspaper. If I wanted a horrible, flat, tasteless reading experience I'd have used the Nook or Kindle apps.
Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Sab Thor says:

I don't like the new minimalist aesthetic - not just in iBook, but throughout iOS 7. It looks terrible; bland and un-interesting. Someone elsewhere called it "soulless" and I agree. At Mr. Jobs' passing I wondered to myself how long it would be before Apple drifted from his path of brilliant design. Not long at all, it seems.

malissa96 says:

I agree with Sab Thor. I loved apple design until the new iOS7 came out. It looks so childish and minimalistic. One thing I loved about iBooks and other apple apps was how realistic they looked. I got my whole family into the apple brand a few years ago. They all hate the new look of iOS7 and I don't blame them. All that Jobs worked for is gone. They went in the opposite direction of his vision and everything that made apple special. Bring back iOS6. Or allow for customization so those who loved the old look can go back to that.
I hope they do something for us.

OmniDragon says:

Still trying to figure out how you can go from wooden textures for lifelike bookshelves, to nothing more than a white gradient and call the new look a "beautiful new design." I'll never update to 3.2...ever. So glad I turned off auto-updates in anticipation of trash like this. I might update iBooks on my devices if they'd at least take out the word "beautiful" in the release notes. There's nothing beautiful about the new iBooks, and everybody knows it. And most of us know why. Because they doubled Ive's workload without giving him any extra hands, and he doesn't have time to make iOS function properly AND make it look good. He only has time for the former. Maybe he should take out a loan and hire his own team to help make iOS look good again. Because right now, it doesn't. And I feel for him, I really do. But I won't go along with the lie. You can't point at a desert waste land and tell me that it looks so much more beautiful than a lush rainforest or mountain range. Because it doesn't. I'm not blind. Either change the release notes to make a TRUE statement, or edit the app to actually look beautiful. Then, I might think about updating iBooks on my devices.

Have a nice day. :D

fluffj2010 says:

I hate the upgrade so much, I have gone back to purchasing real books. Where is the joy??? Does anybody know how to downgrade?