Tech giants Apple and Google have revealed their selections for the best apps and games of the year 2023. AllTrails, a popular hiking and biking companion, took home the title of Apple’s iPhone App of the Year, while Google Play’s top spot was claimed by Imprint: Learn Visually, an educational app. Both platforms unanimously chose Honkai: Star Rail as the Game of the Year.
Apple’s Unconventional Choices
Apple’s list of finalists for iPhone App of the Year this time around deviated from the usual trend of highlighting new apps or those leveraging cutting-edge technology. Instead, the lineup included well-established and well-designed apps, such as the language learning app Duolingo and the travel app Flighty. The ultimate winner, AllTrails, stood out as a testament to the recognition of longstanding excellence. This approach contrasts with previous years, where breakout hits like BeReal and Toca Life World took the spotlight.
Surprisingly, neither Apple nor Google chose an AI app as its app of the year, despite the monumental success of ChatGPT’s mobile app and others. This decision appears intentional, especially considering the notable revenue generated by various AI applications.
Apple’s App Store Winners
In addition to AllTrails, Apple recognized outstanding apps across various categories, including:
– iPad App of the Year: Prêt-à-Makeup
– Mac App of the Year: Photomator
– Apple TV App of the Year: MUBI
– Apple Watch App of the Year: SmartGym
– iPhone Game of the Year: Honkai: Star Rail
– iPad Game of the Year: Lost in Play
– Mac Game of the Year: Lies of P
– Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Hello Kitty Island Adventure
Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed admiration for the innovative developers, stating, “This year’s winners represent the limitless potential of developers to bring their visions to life, creating apps and games with remarkable ingenuity, exceptional quality, and purpose-driven missions.”
AI’s Limited Presence in Apple’s Cultural Impact Awards
While AI’s significant impact on culture was acknowledged, Apple’s Cultural Impact winners did not include any AI app. Instead, the accolades went to:
– Pok Pok (children’s gaming app)
– Proloquo (accessibility app)
– Too Good To Go (food waste minimizer)
– Unpacking (puzzle app)
– Finding Hannah (hidden-object game)
Generative AI earned the title of “Trend of the Year,” although specific apps were not mentioned in the official press release.
Google’s Multi-Device Focus
In contrast to Apple’s approach, Google highlighted “multi-device” apps in its “best of” apps list, aligning with its efforts to enhance non-smartphone app discoverability. Spotify earned the title of the best multi-device app and OUTERPLANE – Strategy Anime was recognized as the best multi-device game.
ChatGPT emerged victorious in Google’s User’s Choice App of the Year category, with MONOPOLY GO! securing the User’s Choice Game of the Year title.
Google’s Additional App Accolades
Google acknowledged several apps with individual awards, including:
– Best App for Fun: Bumble for Friends: Meet IRL
– Best for Personal Growth: Voidpet Garden: Mental Health
– Best Everyday Essential: Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity
– Best Hidden Gem: Aware: Mindfulness & Wellbeing
– Best with AI Character: AI: AI-Powered Chat
– Best for Families: Paw Patrol Academy
– Best App for Good: AWorld in support of ActNow
– Best for Watches: WhatsApp Messenger
– Best for Tablets: Concepts: Sketch, Note, Draw
– Best for Chromebooks: FlipaClip: Create 2D Animation
– Best for Google TV: Max: Stream HBO, TV, & Movies
– Best for Cars: Amazon Prime Video
Despite ongoing tensions between Apple and Meta, Google didn’t hesitate to highlight Meta’s WhatsApp in its winners’ list. The recognition extended to the AI-powered Artifact app, developed by Instagram’s co-founders. While Google didn’t name an overall AI app winner, it created an AI category, with Character AI taking the lead.
Honorable mentions were also granted to notable apps that didn’t clinch the top spot in their respective categories, showcasing the diversity and competitiveness in the app market.