Apple has announced this year’s winners of the coveted Apple Design Award at WWDC, highlighting its take on the best games and utilities of the last year.
As usual, there are a dozen winners for all types of app across iOS and OS X. Two of the awards have gone to students who successfully applied for WWDC scholarships. Here’s a quick recap of each one – including a few that we at TapSmart have reviewed over the last year!
Price: $2.99/£2.29 • Version: 1.2.1 • Size: 251 MB
A beautiful 3D puzzle game based on shadow puppetry – it’s captivating, atmospheric and relaxing in equal measure. Apple picked this one as it really shows off the capabilities of iOS with a “clever motion-based 3D parallax experience”.
Price: $3.99/£2.99 • Version: 1.05 • Size: 98.0 MB
Interactive alphabet designed as an educational tool for kids. Letters gradually shift into words and illustrations as you prod and poke them. An intuitive, playful toy – one that Apple clearly think sets the bar for young children’s games.
Price: Free • Version: 4.0.1 • Size: 96.4 MB
From games to stocks; Robinhood is a stock trading app that doesn’t charge per trade. Its a revolutionary approach to stocks, with social elements, geolocation settings and recommendations. It elegantly follows all the design standards Apple approve of.
Affinity Designer (OS X)
Price: $39.99/£29.99 • Version: 1.2.1 • Size: 126 MB
One of the few Mac applications to win at this year’s awards, Affinity Designer is the perfect match for OS X – completely optimized for Apple’s technologies. It’s a “smooth, precise, high-performance graphics design app” which even uses the new Force Touch trackpad for pressure sensitive drawing.
Price: Free • Version: 1.2.2 • Size: 75.5 MB
The Frogger-inspired, painfully addictive “endless hopper” game that found its way to the top of the App Store in no time. Although it has made a ton of money from in-app purchases, it has been praised for the fact that they’re completely optional and don’t add or subtract from the core game.
Fantastical 2 (OS X)
Price: $39.99/£29.99 • Version: 2.0.6 • Size: 11.8 MB
It was the Mac version of this highly-rated calendar app that won the award, but it’s also available on iPhone and iPad and the experience is no less impressive. Fantastical 2 understands natural language input to create events – we reviewed the iPhone version last year and still love it now!
Price: $2.99/£2.49 • Version: 1.2.3 • Size: 31.3 MB
A powerful, personal automation tool for iOS that can “connect apps and actions together to automate things you do every day.” Sounds complicated, but the app is really well designed and easy to use. It’s praised by Apple for its excellent accessibility features.
Does Not Commute
Price: Free ($1.99/£1.49 for premium) • Version: 1.1.0 • Size: 59.2 MB
One of our favorite iOS games of the last few months, a strategic and often hilarious driving game with time travel. It won the design award for its “highly stylized and beautiful late 1960s aesthetic,” which ties in perfectly with the game’s unique concept.
Price: Free • Version: 1.5.1 • Size: 466 MB
This multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game succeeds in bringing an experience typically enjoyed by desktop computer gamers to a touchscreen mobile device. Apple selected it for its impressive graphics and immersive gameplay.
Price: Free • Version: 1.4.1 • Size: 70.2 MB
A DJ app that takes all the complexity out of mixing and lets you create awesome jams with just a few touches. Pacemaker is integrated and optimized for all Apple devices and is a great example of a first-generation third-party Apple Watch app.
Price: $0.99/£0.79 • Version: 1.2 • Size: 15.7 MB
The first student winner is a “simple, fast-paced quiz game” with a basic but clean and easily understood interface. Clearly Apple see the potential in a game that was designed, built and even optimized for Apple Watch out of a student’s bedroom.
Price: Free • Version: 3.0 • Size: 13.9 MB
Another student winner, this time a hand-drawn puzzle platformer with simple graphics but a well-executed framework. This app was created by two students studying programming at university.
— TapSmart (@TapSmart) June 10, 2015