Apple and Google today announced their best apps and games of the year, with hiking and biking companion AllTrails winning as Apple’s iPhone App of the Year for 2023, while the educational app Imprint: Visual Learning won as the best app on Google Play. Meanwhile, Apple and Google agreed on their Game of the Year, as both were chosen Honkai: Star Rail as their winner.
These year-end “best of” lists are not only a way to spark interest in new apps and games, but also serve as a way to gauge the state of the app markets, what platforms want to celebrate, and what appeals to consumers. ‘ attention of the year.
Surprisingly, however, Apple this year bucked the trend of highlighting apps that are new to the store or that take advantage of recently released technology in a new way. However, its finalists for iPhone app of the year include apps that have long deserved accolades as well-built and well-designed mobile companions, including language learning app Duolingo and travel app Flighty, plus AllTrails winner.
However, it’s worth noting that this is a different kind of selection than in previous years, when App Store winners included the breakout social hit BeReal in 2022 and the well-received children’s app Toca Life World last year.
It is also worth noting that neither Apple nor Google chose an AI app as the app of the year, despite the incredible success of the ChatGPT mobile app and others. That’s especially surprising given that ChatGPT has been created the fastest growing consumer application in history earlier this year when it reached 100 million users shortly after its launch. That record was later broken by Instagram Threads, which hit 100 million users in just five days, and as of October still has an active user base of just under 100 million.
Either of these choices would represent a mobile app success story, but the two app store platforms are eyeing the others as this year’s top winners. In addition, outside of ChatGPT, many other AI apps are also earning millions, so the decision to avoid the AI category seems to be a deliberate choice on Apple’s part.
Other App Store winners include iPad App of the Year Prêt-à-MakeupMac App of the Year PhotomatorApple TV App of the Year LOWApple Watch App of the Year SmartGymiPhone Game of the Year Honkai: Star RailiPad Game of the Year Lost in PlayMac Game of the Year P’s liesand Apple Arcade Game of the Year Hello Kitty Island Adventure.
“It’s inspiring to see the ways developers continue to create incredible apps and games that change the world around us,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a statement about the winners of 2023. “This year’s winners represent the unlimited potential of developers to bring their visions to life, creating apps and games with extraordinary intelligence, exceptional quality , and purpose-driven missions,” he added.
Apple also avoided naming an AI app among the Cultural Impact winners, despite AI’s real impact on culture, online and offline. In 2023, AI embeds itself in everyday technology, is used to create art and music, and has interrupted jobs while also create new ones. However, Apple’s cultural winners include the children’s play app Pok Pokan accessibility app Prologuethe food waste minimizer Very Good Goingthe puzzle app unpackand the hidden object game Find Hannah.
However, the company can’t avoid the whole topic of AI, so it gave the technology credit by naming generative AI the “Trend of the Year,” and assembled a collection of generative AI apps that reflect this trend. . It did not name it in its press release, however, instead only pointed to their App Store group.
In addition to this overall winner, Google took a different approach to its “best” apps this year, highlighting “multi-device” apps that mirror its efforts in the Play Store designed to be easier to find non-smartphone apps. It named Spotify the best multi-device app — an interesting choice given that it was only revealed through Epic Games’ antitrust case that Spotify had a sweetheart deal with Google that allowed it to avoid fees. in the Play Store. The best multi-device game is a turn-based strategy game OUTERPLANE – Anime Strategy.
The company also rounded up other apps it wanted to highlight by giving them individual accolades, including Best App for Fun Bumble for Friends: Meet IRLBest for Personal Development Voidpet Garden: Mental HealthBest Daily Essentials Artifact: Feed Your CuriosityBest Hidden Gems to Know: Think GoodBest in AI Character AI: AI-Powered ChatBest for Families Paw Patrol AcademyBest App for Fitness AWorld in support of ActNowBest for Watches WhatsApp MessengerBest for Tablets Concepts: Sketch, Note, DrawBest for Chromebooks FlipaClip: Create 2D AnimationBest for Google TV Max: Stream HBO, TV, and MoviesBest for Cars Amazon Prime Video
Unlike Apple, which fought Meta because changes to its App Tracking Transparency affected Meta’s ad business, leading to a strained relationship between the two tech giants , Google did not mind promoting WhatsApp on Meta in the list of winners. It also gives a nod to the clever AI-powered Artifact app, built by the co-founders of Instagram. And while it didn’t anoint an AI app as the overall winner either, ChatGPT won the User’s Choice race and made it into the AI category, where Character AI – an app built by former Google researchers – won.
It also gathered Honorable Mentions for those who didn’t win in their app category, including Reelsy Reel Maker Video Editor, Imprint: Visual Learning (which won overall but an Honorable Mention in Personal Development), ReciMe: Easy and Delicious Recipes, Stippl: Explore, Plan and Share, ChatGPT (which won User’s Choice but an Honorable Mention for Best with AI), LEGO DUPLO DISNEY, AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run (also Apple’s iPhone app of the year), Audible: Audio Entertainment, Canva: Design, Photos and Videos, Everand: Ebooks and audiobooks, Evernote – Note Organizer, Wideo, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, Disney+, Tubi: Movies and Live TV, Beach Buggy Racingand Spotify (which won Best multi-device app but is an honorable mention for Best for Cars.)
The best games include Best Multiplayer Game Farlight 84Best Pick Up and Play: MONOPOLY GO!Best Indie Vampire SurvivorsBest Story Honkai: Star RailBest Continues Stumbling GuysBest Game for Fitness: Pokémon SleepBest of Play Pass Magic RampageBest for Tablets Honkai: Star RailBest for Chromebooks Minecraftand Best for Google Play Games on PC Arknights. Honorable mentions for games are also included (see here on the Google blog along with the year books.)