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Apple Names Best Apps and Games of 2023 in Annual App Store Awards

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Nov 30, 2023

Apple today announced the winners of its annual App Store Awards, recognizing the best apps and games available across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch. This year’s selections highlight AI-powered features as a key trend.

AllTrails Named iPhone App of the Year

The iPhone App of the Year for 2023 is AllTrails, the popular outdoor recreation app for hikers, runners and mountain bikers. AllTrails provides detailed topographic maps, user reviews and photos curated from its community of millions for over 300,000 trail and park locations worldwide.

New features this year include AI-powered recommendations personalized to users’ preferences and skill levels. AllTrails also added 3D imagery to enhance mapping detail, and launched an AllTrails Outdoor Academy providing online videos and tips from professional athletes and nature guides.

“We started AllTrails to connect people with the outdoors and each other,” said Ron Schneidermann, CEO of AllTrails. “This honor from Apple celebrates our community and the hard work we have done to help people safely explore new trails all over the world.”

Creative App GoodNotes 5 Named iPad App of the Year

Earning iPad App of the Year is digital notebook app GoodNotes 5. GoodNotes 5 mimics pen and paper for freeform note-taking, illustration and annotation using the Apple Pencil.

Version 5.8, released in September, takes advantage of new iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura capabilities by adding Live Text recognition and Apple Pencil hover preview. GoodNotes 5 also leverages iCloud sync so users can pick up editing on any device instantly.

“GoodNotes has always focused on the belief that we could create something extraordinary by deeply caring about even the smallest details,” said Steven Chan, CEO of GoodNotes.

MacFamilyTree 10 Wins Mac App of the Year

For the second straight year, genealogy app MacFamilyTree 10 earned the Mac App of the Year title. MacFamilyTree 10 helps users explore their family history and ancestry data by organizing information and memories into interactive diagrams and charts.

This year’s version introduces AI-assisted tagging and syncing between Mac, iPhone and iPad to enable users to build out family trees wherever they go. An upcoming Storytelling feature will auto-generate keepsake albums, books and slideshows to celebrate relatives.

“We’re incredibly grateful and thrilled to be recognized again as the Mac App of the Year,” said Synium Software founder Matthias Fichtner. “Our users motivate us to keep improving MacFamilyTree year after year.”

Innovative Storytelling Earns Dear Reader Cultural Impact Award

A unique reading platform took home an App Store Award for cultural impact. Dear Reader reimagines classic literature as bite-sized text message conversations between characters, delivered serially throughout the day.

Over 400,000 readers have subscribed for daily doses of Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Oscar Wilde and other beloved writers. Dear Reader earned praise for making literature accessible via modern mobile messaging.

Unpacking and Lies of P Claim Top Game Honors

On the gaming front, the breakout indie hit Unpacking snagged iPhone Game of the Year. Players unpack boxes in varied household scenes to arrange items and decorations into animated living spaces.

The clever Tetris-style puzzler, developed by Australian studio Witch Beam, has won numerous accolades. This App Store Award cements Unpacking’s reputation as an innovator in using game mechanics to tell charming personal stories.

Earning the Mac Game of the Year title is action-RPG Lies of P. The Dark Soul-inspired game from South Korean developer Neowiz reimagines the Pinocchio tale with gorgeous Victorian-era visuals and intense hack-and-slash combat.

Lies of P enchanted players and critics with its unique take on the classic folklore. Our game will continue Pinocchio’s gripping story when new chapters release in 2023,” said Bumjung Kim, CEO of Neowiz.

Full List of 2023 App Store Award Winners

Here is the complete list of this year’s App Store Award winners:

iPhone App of the Year: AllTrails
iPad App of the Year: GoodNotes 5
Mac App of the Year: MacFamilyTree 10
Apple TV App of the Year: ViX
Apple Watch App of the Year: Gentler Streak

iPhone Game of the Year: Unpacking
iPad Game of the Year: Moncage
Mac Game of the Year: Lies of P \
Apple TV Game of the Year: El Hijo
Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Wylde Flowers

China Game of the Year: League of Legends Esports Manager
Cultural Impact Award: Dear Reader

Growing App Store Opportunity for Developers

Apple celebrated how apps and games “found ways to enrich people’s lives” as it marked the opening of the App Store in 2008.

Since then, the revolutionary marketplace has grown to become a booming economy unto itself. As of 2022:

  • Over 600 million people visited the App Store each week
  • Developers have earned over $320 billion since 2008
  • There are over 2 million apps available

During the presentation, Apple teased upcoming features for developers. This includes the new App Store Connect automation framework for managing and optimizing app submissions.

Apple also highlighted Swift Playgrounds 4 and app-building guides within Xcode Cloud as ways to lower barriers to app development. The company views expanding its developer ecosystem as key to the App Store’s continued growth and innovation.

“Apps empower people everywhere to bring their passions to life,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The developers honored this year embody that pioneering and creative spirit.”

Outlook: More App Store Changes Coming?

While celebrating developers, lingering concerns remain around App Store profits and promotion. Developers only keep 70% of sales revenue, with Apple taking a 30% commission. Some developers argue this “Apple tax” is exorbitant.

Others want more transparency on how apps gain featured placement. They claim Apple favors its own services over competing apps in areas like music, video streaming, fitness and gaming.

In response, Apple recently launched a $100 million Apple Entrepreneur Camp fund and App Store Small Business Program to assist small developers. Competitors like Microsoft and Google offer 95% revenue share for some developers.

With regulators in the EU, UK and elsewhere investigating Apple’s App Store dominance, additional changes may come. But for now, developers and users are toasting their 2023 App Store Awards success.

This analysis piece explores what improvements developers still want to see in the App Store. But our main reporting conveys the excitement and achievement surrounding today’s big App Store winners.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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