These 12 Apps are the Winners of the 20th Apple Design Awards
Article by George Norman
On 09 Jun 2017
For the past 20 years now, Apple has recognized the best and most innovative apps that set a benchmark for excellence, by giving them an Apple Design Award. The results of the 2017 Apple Design Awards are in and the 12 apps that received the coveted honor are...

Before I go and present the 5 games and 7 apps that won an Apple Design Award this 2017, let me quickly remind you about last year’s winners. That’s it, let’s push on!

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The Winners of the 2017 Apple Design Awards Are...

1. Blackbox


  • What is it?
It is a puzzle game that features multiple types of puzzles. Even if a puzzle seems unsolvable, there IS a way to solve it. The developer purposely made these puzzles challenging, but solvable. If you can’t find the solution, just ask for a hint.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"Blackbox was chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for being fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations. Blackbox offers puzzles that rely on minimalistic clues, deliberate movement, elegant animations, and visual cues to expand creative thinking and encourage players to solve puzzles by turning, shouting, clicking, snapping, and more."
  • Where can I get it?
Blackbox is available for free (with in-app purchases) on Apple’s App Store.


2. Splitter Critters


  • What is it?
It’s a mobile game where you have to guide these critters back to their spaceship. You do that by splitting the world and then rearranging it.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"Selected as an Apple Design Award winner for its touch-centric game play, absorbing sound design, and minimalistic paper-craft aesthetic, Splitter Critters uses a clever tearing effect and scene re-arrangement technique to help players solve puzzles in new ways. With clever environmental mechanics such as laser beams, reflective surfaces, liquids, moving platforms, and immersive soundscapes for each world (best experienced with headphones), this app offers an inventive and memorable gaming experience."
  • Where can I get it?
Splitter Critters is $2.99 on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.


3. Mushroom 11


  • What is it?
It is an indie puzzle platformer video game that asks you to guide a green mushroom across a strange and challenging landscape. This game won the Standout Indie title at the 2017 Google Play Awards.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"Mushroom 11 plays better than ever before on a multi-touch mobile device and was selected as an Apple Design Award winner for its intriguing alien landscapes, rich hand-painted levels, and incredibly unique, tactile, and immersive gameplay on iPhone and iPad."
  • Where can I get it?
Mushroom 11 is $4.99 on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The desktop version is $14.99 on Steam.


4. Old Man’s Journey


  • What is it?
This is a puzzle adventure game about life, loss, and hope. You’ll embark on a journey and shape the landscape to help an old man move forward, unlock memories, and have his last chance at seeking amends.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"We picked this game as an Apple Design Award winner because of its immersive and meaningful game play, beautiful, hand-drawn art style, and whimsical, exceptionally crafted landscapes. Old Man’s Journey conveys universal truths that transcend cultures and the many stages of life, and delivers an experience focused on originality, simplicity, refined game mechanics, and rich interactivity."
  • Where can I get it?
Old Man’s Journey is $4.99 on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The desktop version is $7.99 on Steam.


5. Severed


  • What is it?
It’s an action-adventure, narrative-driven video game. You play as Sasha, a one-armed warrior on a journey through a nightmare world, in search of her family. Severed was nominated for the Best Mobile Game category at The Game Awards 2016.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"We were impressed by Severed’s sword-swinging mechanic that’s both intuitive and effective, the thoughtful approach taken for touchscreen-only controls, and the Metal optimizations used to create its high fidelity graphics and effects, and as well as its support for Game Center Achievements, ReplayKit to record video and audio, 3D Touch to Peek & Pop in-game maps, and iCloud for syncing game play between devices."
  • Where can I get it?
Severed is $2.99 on Apple’s App Store.


6. Lake


  • What is it?
It is an iOS coloring app meant to help you relax and de-stress. A vibrant collection of illustrations from Instagram artists is available to help you color yourself happy.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"This is a beautifully designed, best-of-breed coloring app, exclusive to iPad and iPhone. Created by a five-person team in Slovenia, Lake’s simple and playful design is a delight, and comes packed with creativity-enhancing tools, customized color palettes, and beautiful illustrations to help anyone create a masterpiece."
  • Where can I get it?
Lake is free (with in-app purchases) on Apple's App Store.


7. Bear


  • What is it?
It is a note taking and writing app that is exclusively available for iOS. It features a simple design, beautiful typography, multiple themes, editing tools, rich previews, and more.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"With a simple and clean design, beautiful typography, and a consistently fast experience on any device, Bear helps writers focus on their content and produce great looking results whenever and wherever inspiration strikes."
  • Where can I get it?
Bear is free (with in-app purchases) on Apple’s App Store and Mac App Store.


8. Kitchen Stories


  • What is it?
It’s a companion for the Kitchen Stories website, where you will find tasty recipes and fresh articles. You can use the app to look up recipes, upload food photos, plan your shopping, and access a practical serving size converter to find out how much you must cook if you’re planning on having friends over for dinner.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"Kitchen Stories includes a rich variety of recipes, dazzling photos, helpful videos, handy tips, and informative articles, all focused on inspiration, convenience, and execution."
  • Where can I get it?
Kitchen Stories is free on Apple’s App Store.


9. Things 3


  • What is it?
A to-do and task management app for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. It will help you stay organized, plan your time, and get things done more efficiently.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"This app is the quintessential personal task manager, exclusive to iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. A joy to use and beautiful to look at, Things 3 has been completely re-imagined to improve efficiency. Its thoughtful design and powerful features help you get organized and make the most out of every day."
  • Where can I get it?
Things 3 is $9.99 for iPhone and Apple Watch, $19.99 for iPad, and $49.99 for Mac (a 14-day trial is available on the official Things website).


10. Elk


  • What is it?
It is a clutter-free currency converter that will come in handy when you travel abroad or whenever you need to check out the exchange rates.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"An innovative currency conversion app, Elk is perfectly suited for Apple Watch and enables quickly converting between 150+ currencies worldwide. Elk provides a thoughtfully designed and efficient experience on watchOS that makes currency conversion fast, easy, and convenient."
  • Where can I get it?
Elk is free (with in-app purchases) on Apple’s App Store.


11. Enlight


  • What is it?
It is photo editing app exclusively available for iOS. It was a runner-up for the 2015 iPhone App of the Year award.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"Enlight is a groundbreaking photo editing application with a collection of tools rivaling professional-grade desktop mainstays. Chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for its thoughtful, powerful, and elegant implementation on iOS, Enlight’s comprehensive and consistent user experience makes its' powerful capabilities easy to learn and a joy to use."
  • Where can I get it?
Enlight is $3.99 on Apple’s App Store.


12. AirMail 3



  • What is it?
It is an email client that has been specifically designed for iOS, watchOS, or macOS. It supports multiple email providers, it can handle all your accounts, it offers a unified desktop and mobile experience, it integrates with many apps and services, and more.
  • What did Apple like about it?
"AirMail 3 stands above the crowd and helps you tame your inbox with its clean, three-column layout, smart interactive features, beautiful design, and speed. Bloop’s development team of two took great care to optimize the email workflow with extensive customizations, custom actions, an innovative snooze feature, and deep integration with a wide range of popular apps and services. "
  • Where can I get it?
AirMail 3 is $4.99 for iOS on the App Store and $9.99 for Mac on the Mac App Store.




Tags: Apple, Apple Design Awards, Blackbox, Splitter Critters, Mushroom 11, Old Man’s Journey, Severed, Lake, Bear, Kitchen Stories, Things 3, Elk, Enlight, AirMail 3
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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