The best apps and games in the App Store, according to Apple

Apple Design Awards 2015

This week, Apple held an annual ceremony to honour what the company thinks are the very best apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac from the past year.

Apps selected to win an Apple Design Award range from Fantastical, a popular replacement to Apple’s own Calendar app, to “Crossy Road,” a popular and beautiful iPhone game. There were also several apps made for students and kids, including an app for children that uses creative ways to teach kids the alphabet.

Elementary Minute

The first app Apple awarded was Elementary Minute, which was made by an Austrian student. It presents quizzes in a simple, engaging format and also works on the Apple Watch.

Topics range from math to geography to famous people, and 'Rush' mode turns quizzes into a game where you have four lives and lose one if you get an answer wrong or if you take too long.

It's free in the App Store.


University students from Brazil made 'Jump-O,' a simple, minimalistic game where you are a circle in a world full of squares.

The design of the game looks pretty basic, but it's surprisingly engaging with five-star reviews in the App Store. You can download and play it for free.


This beautiful puzzler takes advantage of Apple's latest technologies to create impressive 3D effects.

The $US2.99 game features over 80 levels that each present their own challenges, and it has amazing reviews.

Here's what Pocket Gamer had to say: 'Simple to the point of beauty, and beautiful to the point of becoming a work of art, this is a game you won't want to win, because you won't want the experience to end.'


Metamorphobet is a great learning app for kids. It makes the alphabet interactive with visual representations of different letters, like a colourful human nose for the letter 'n.'

The idea is for kids to start taking individual letters and make words using visual cues. The app costs $US3.99 in Apple's store.


The first finance app that has ever received an Apple Design Award is Robinhood, the free app that's trying to shake up the stock trading industry.

Download Robinhood, create an account, and you can start investing in stocks without paying any broker fees. The app is well-designed and easy to use. Who said managing money can't look pretty?

Crossy Road

One of the biggest indie games in the App Store is undoubtedly 'Crossy Road,' which made $US10 million in just three months.

The game's design is unique, and if you liked playing Frogger back in the day, you'll be hooked instantly. It's free to play, but there are optional in-app purchases to unlock stuff like new characters.


One of the most powerful iPhone apps to hit the App Store in recent years is Workflow, which specialises in 'automation made simple.'

It allows you create 'actions' that let you do things that normal apps can't. For example, you can set it to create an animated GIF out of a few photos in your Camera Roll. There are countless other actions for making PDFs, sharing files to Dropbox, and much, much more.

If you're someone who likes to get things done on the iPhone or iPad, Workflow is worth checking out. It costs $US2.99 in the App Store and also works on the Apple Watch.


Fantastical is a popular calendar manager on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

It solves a lot of problems with Apple's own Calendar app, namely the confusing interface. One of the biggest reasons people love Fantastical is that it lets you enter events using natural language. That means 'lunch with Steve next Thursday at 2' gets translated into an event that's pre-filled with the appropriate information.

The Mac version of Fantastical recently underwent a huge makeover, and it's pretty great. Unfortunately its price of $US39.99 will keep everyone but the hardcore calendar nerds away. If you're interested, you can buy it on the Mac App Store. There's also a free trial available on the developer's website.

Does Not Commute

This strategy-based car game looks beautiful. It also sounds like a lot of fun.

'Does not Commute is a temporal paradox in which you have no one to blame but yourself,' reads the game's description. You start by
commuting around a small town from the 1970's, but chaos quickly ensues and you have to drive everything from a hot dog trucks to a school bus. Can you survive the traffic? Your fate is in your own hands.

Download for free in the App Store.


'Vainglory' is an ambitious multiplayer online battle game that looks absolutely stunning on the iPhone's high definition display. It bills itself as the first game of its kind built from the ground up for touch displays, and it looks kind of like the mobile successor to 'World of Warcraft.'

You can download 'Vainglory' for free in the App Store, and it has optional in-app purchases.


Pacemaker lets you mix songs from iTunes and Spotify in an interface designed around letting you DJ your next house party or event.

The app can analyse which tracks go well together and help you sync them up, which could be really helpful the next time you're trying to keep the party going.

You can download Pacemaker for free in the App Store, and it works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

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