Every year at WWDC, Apple picks a few apps for their Design Awards. These apps are known to “set a benchmark for excellence” when it comes to “usability, excellence in design, excellence in innovation, and excellence in technology adoption.” While the last year’s list was mostly games, this year we have a good mix of games, educational, productivity and professional apps.
Apple Design Award Winners 2016
Below are the winners for the Apple Design Awards 2016 with two student winners at the end:
It is the perfect platform for medical students, medical professionals and lifelong learners, allowing instant interaction with the most accurate 3D anatomy models available and over 6,200 high resolution anatomical structures.
Streaks is the to-do list that helps people form good habits. Derived from the idea that a focused approach to a limited number of daily tasks is an effective way to build new habits, the creators of Streaks created elegant, straightforward apps for iOS and watchOS.
Zova is a fitness training app and was founded on the idea that one’s quality of life, emotional well being, and health could dramatically improve by incorporating an achievable exercise routine. With rich, well-considered, polished video content and clever design, Zova delivers high resolution streaming videos with special consideration paid to the context of the user. The Apple TV app content was made especially for the large screen and with a custom video player, plus great Siri remote integration.
frame.io is a video collaboration platform that enables teams to work together on films or videos efficiently. Frame.io elegantly solves the complicated collaboration process of reviewing and providing feedback on dailies, and was picked as a winner because it solves a real problem in an elegant way. It has a distinct and coherent visual style, impressive motion effects, and supports Auto Layout, Dynamic Type, 3D Touch Quick Actions, and Peek and Pop.
Ulysses was developed for creative writers, including novelists, students, journalists, and bloggers. A powerful text editor for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, the clean and uncluttered designed is optimized for writing without distraction, while empowering writers with tools to be productive during every phase of the writing process. Ulysses was picked as an Apple Design Award winner because of its strong execution, and because it allows users to work on their device of choice while providing a consistent and device appropriate experience.
Chameleon Run is a fast-paced auto runner with a colorful twist. With great Siri Remote integration on tvOS and Multi-touch on iOS, the gameplay is fast, highly responsive, and addictive. We loved this game’s stunning visual presentation, beautiful graphics, and great visual effects. With a great soundtrack, fun sound effects, super intuitive and natural controls, and great performance Chameleon Run is a winner that’s hard to put down. Its unique twist on the platformer genre makes it sweetly challenging, and excellent re-playability and attention to detail make it clear that plenty of care and craft were put into the development and design of this game.
Lara Croft GO is a turn-based puzzle adventure set in the ruins of an ancient civilization. It captures the spirit of this classic franchise and reimagines it into a fresh, great looking, and innovative new adventure game. This simple but addictive turn-based logic puzzle was designed to be quickly learned but difficult to master.
With beautiful attention to detail paid to the characters and the environment, Lara Croft Go takes advantage of Metal to render its captivating environment, was redesigned for the Multi-touch experience, supports Game Center and iCloud for syncing progress, and provides highly responsive game play.
INKS is a beautiful game with a twist on the classic pinball genre. As a ball is launched onto the table, it hits paint pockets that explode in splashes of colorful ink that spread and blend into each other. The compositions created are gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. The mixing and blending effects of ink was heavily researched and replicated with custom shaders and Metal APIs. The team at State of Play Games did much of the artistry and conceptualization of INKS on an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. The feel of the flippers and bumpers, the use of habitrails and drop targets, and great retro sound effects give the game authenticity. INKS shows that with enough thought and attention to detail, an existing genre can be reimagined to create something beautiful and unique. INKS is fresh and unique, available in five languages.
Auxy is an audio creation app with more than 4,000 5-star ratings. Its clean and minimalist style lets people create great modern music in a snap. We loved this app because of its performance, non-intrusive on-boarding experience, satisfying touch feedback, modern appearance, and deep integration with Core Audio that allows the Auxy team to build a powerful custom sound engine. Auxy’s design avoids extraneous visual elements and is instantly engaging, clearing the way for electronic music fans to create their own tracks.
Auxy is written entirely in Swift and uses language features like custom types for musical fractions to make the code simpler to read, enables Spotlight search to make it simple to find and open projects, and has a clever implementation of 3D touch to allow easy access to projects.
10. djay Pro
An Apple Design Award winner from 2011, dJay Pro has continued to innovate and stay in lockstep with every new OS release or device. dJay Pro was selected as an Apple Design Award winner because it sets new benchmarks for performance, features, use of Apple technology, multi-device support, and accessibility. With over 70 iPad Pro keyboard shortcuts, advanced multi-tasking integration, and cloud syncing for content, the iOS version includes a suite of sophisticated desktop-class features including four decks, high definition waveforms, and mixing of up to four audio tracks plus two simultaneous 4K video streams.
Linum is a puzzle game where the goal is to connect nodes to their landing points. The beauty of Linum is in its simplicity: with a clean UI and simple rule-set, Linum challenges users to complete levels with the fewest moves possible. As the number of nodes increases, complex puzzles are revealed that challenge even the best players. With a smart implementation of touch, an approachable progression system, terrific overall presentation, and great use of system technologies such as UIView animations, CoreData, StoreKit, ReplayKit, and GameCenter, Linum definitely deserves one of our student Apple Design Awards.
Dividr is a fun and addicting 2D arcade game in which the goal is to move glowing control squares inwards and outwards to avoid obstacles and collect points along the way. Written entirely in Swift, Dividr uses 3D Touch variance pressure to determine how hard a player is pressing, and its simple, clean design makes this game a delight to play and worthy of winning a Student Apple Design Award. Creators Josh Deichmann, Patrick Pistor, and Erik Lydick started development of this app while attending an iOS App Challenge at the Rochester Institute of Technology.