Apple picks its top iPhone and iPad apps of 2011

Apple's out with its top apps of 2011. Although the big winners are Instagram, Tiny Tower, Snapseed and Dead Space, Apple's posted its top 5 apps in each of 20 categories. Get downloading!
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

Apple released its list of the best iOS apps and games for 2011 yesterday. The App Store Rewind (available on in iTunes, natch) is a subset of annual Apple's iTunes Rewind feature, which includes Apple's top picks in the categories of music, movies, TV shows, App Store, Books and Podcasts.

But let's just focus on the App Store for a minute.

Apple made its app picks in 20 categories ranging from books to weather, and chose the top five apps in each category. This year Apple did it a little differently than in years past, separating iPhone and iPad apps.

The big winners are the App of the Year awards, which were distributed in four categories:

  • iPhone App of the Year
  • iPhone Game of the Year
  • iPad App of the Year
  • iPad Game of the Year

Drum roll please...

  • iPhone App of the Year - Instagram (App Store, free) --  A free, fun, and simple way to make and share gorgeous photos on your iPhone.
  • iPhone Game of the Year - Tiny Tower (App Store, free) -- Build a tiny tower and manage the businesses and bitizens that inhabit it.

  • iPad App of the Year - Snapseed (App Store, $4.99) -- Makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips.
  • iPad Game of the Year - Dead Space for iPad (App Store, $4.99) -- 3D action shooter with hardcore gameplay, enhanced graphics, and a rich audio experience.

In addition to the big four apps above, Apple's chosen its top five apps in each of 20 categories, for a total of 100. If that wasn't enough, Apple has posted charts of the App Store's top 100 Free Apps and Paid Apps -- presumably by cumulative downloads:

Top 5 Free Apps:

  • Archery World Cup
  • Modern War
  • Very Hungry Cat
  • Bejeweled Blitz
  • Zombie Spaceship

Top 5 Paid Apps:

  1. Tetris
  2. Angry Birds Seasons
  3. Angry Birds
  4. Bejeweled
  5. Batman Arkham City

Too bad that Google released its free Currents app too late in the year to be included. This Flipboard killer is bound to land on the iOS free apps lists in 2012.

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