WWDC 2016: Here's Apple's pick of this year's best-designed apps

Apple has made its choice of the apps of 2016 that showcase how developers can make the best use of its software and hardware platforms.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Apple cited 3D iOS app Complete Anatomy for its "performance, high-fidelity models, attention to detail, and uncluttered user interface".

Image: Apple/Complete Anatomy Lab

After taking the wraps off iOS 10 and macOS Sierra at day one of the Apple developer conference, Apple named the winners of its prestigious Apple Design Awards, which recognize developers whose apps shine on Apple's software and hardware platforms.

Each year since 1997, the cube-shaped Apple Design Award goes to 10 winning apps from a range of categories, spanning games, health, and productivity, as well as two student apps.

The makers of 3D anatomical iOS app Complete Anatomy pick up an award for "incredible performance, high-fidelity models, attention to detail, and uncluttered user interface". Apple notes the app makes good use of the iPad Pro's graphics to rapidly render the human anatomy in 3D.

The Streaks to-do list app is recognized for its "simplicity, great visual design, and excellent implementation on Apple Watch". The app makes great use of Apple Watch notifications, custom complications, and haptic, Apple noted.

The Zova personal training app for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV is praised for delivering "high-resolution streaming videos with special consideration paid to the context of the user". For example, Apple TV content is customized for a large screen.

Frame.io, a video collaboration platform for iOS and built entirely in Swift, is acknowledged for its "distinct and coherent visual style, helpful animations, and impressive motion effects". Auxy, a popular audio creation app for iOS and also written entirely in Swift, is singled out for its clean look and powerful custom sound engine.

Meanwhile, dJay Pro, which won a design award in 2011, is honored again for the iOS version, which delivers "desktop-class" features on the iPad, and makes use of all iOS accessibility features.

Ulysses, a popular text editor for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, picks up an award for helping writers switch between devices without interpreting the writing process.

Winning games this year include Chameleon Run, Lara Croft Go, and INKS, a hybrid puzzle and pinball game that creates art with splashes of bright colour when the ball hits targets.

This year's student winners include Dividr and Linum. Apple picks out 2D iOS arcade game Dividr's use of 3D Touch variance pressure to determine how hard a player is pressing. The company also cited the makers of puzzle game Linum for their "smart implementation of touch, an approachable progression system, terrific overall presentation, and great use of system technologies".

Apple has published a full description of each app and its winning qualities on the developer site with links to each of the apps in the App Store or Mac App Store.

Read more about Apple iOS apps

Editorial standards