Apple Design Awards 2023 – The 32 finalist apps under the magnifying glass!

It starts in a week WWDC23, and with it comes the presentation of the Apple Design Awards 2023. According to the official program During developer week, the winning apps will be announced on June 6, 2023, at 3:30 a.m. Central European Summer Time. In advance, however, there is already information about the software that made it to the final. There are six categories, each with six apps to choose from. Some apps appear in multiple categories, so there are 32 to choose from instead of 36. Below you will find information on each of the titles in the finals. If you want to give tips on which programs and games could win, please leave a comment!

There are 2023 finalist titles in the 32 Apple Design Awards. They are divided into six categories. Here you can find a look at each individual offer. Image source: Apple
There are 2023 finalist titles in the 32 Apple Design Awards. They are divided into six categories. Here you can find a look at each individual offer. Image source: Apple

Inclusivity / Inclusivity

According to Apple, the finalist apps in the Inclusivity category offer a great experience for all users, regardless of their background, ability or language. Here are the apps you can choose from:

  • Anne: This iPhone app by Alessandro Di Maio is made for deaf and dumb users. You can use them to communicate in Morse code or read content. Input works via gestures on the display. Information is output via vibrations.
  • Universe - Website Builder: This app for iPhone, iPad and Mac is made by Universe Exploration Company. It's a website builder that doesn't require any coding knowledge. The focus, as far as I understand, is on creating online stores.
  • Passenger assistance: This TRANSREPORT app is only available in the UK. It is intended to help make it quicker and easier to take advantage of offers of help for air travel. This should make boarding easier for people with visual or hearing impairments, with limited language skills, with wheelchairs, with a service dog, etc.
  • stitch.: This game from Lykke Studios can be played on various Apple devices via Apple Arcade. It contains so-called Shikaku puzzles in the form of embroidery. In addition to the puzzle challenge, virtual embroidery should also be relaxing.
  • Ancient Board Game Collection: With this app, Klemens Strasser made it back to the final. Last year he was with "Letter Rooms" included. You may also already know him from the recently presented app "Study with Subwords(It may end up at the Design Awards 2024). This year, his app introduces nine ancient board games: Konane, Hnefatafl, Nine Men's Mills, Dablot Prejjesne, Gomoku, Halatafl, Latrunculi, Five Field-Kono, and Bagh-Chal.
  • Finding Hannah: This hidden object game is made by Fein Games GmbH. The story of the game describes the self-discovery of the protagonist Hannah. Although she has a comfortable life, she is not happy with it. Where will she find happiness?

Delight and Fun

The finalist apps in this category deliver memorable, engaging, and satisfying experiences. They also use technologies provided by Apple for this purpose. Here is the list of interesting offers:

  • Duolingo : The Duolingo Inc. app should be known. It imparts language skills by means of interesting example sentences and memorable graphics. The sometimes quite funny sentences about learning a language and learning memories that are sometimes perceived as intrusive have long since become a meme.
  • CREAM: This app comes from The CREME Group Inc. The concept is easily explained by the fact that chefs from different parts of the world film their cooking skills and pass on their favorite recipes. Users can access this content for a fee and thus cook exclusive dishes.
  • chanting: The IORAMA app is music software primarily created for the iPad. The playful presentation is intended to encourage singing and the discovery of one's own voice and its abilities.
  • Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!: This game is made by GAME FREAK Inc. (yes, the game studio responsible for developing the Pokémon games). It's a combination of horse racing and solitaire - combined with cute graphics. It is playable on various devices via Apple Arcade.
  • knot words: This app was created by Zach Gage. It is described as a minimal and elegant logic puzzle. Words are used like in a crossword puzzle. I find it interesting that it is also supported by older systems from iOS and iPadOS version 13.6.
  • afterplace: This app by Evan Kice is a pixel graphics game. It is described as a huge open world where you can discover hidden secrets, treasures and creatures. There are no virtual buttons, interaction with locations, monsters and objects is realized by tapping them directly.

interaction / interaction

According to Apple, the finalist apps in this category deliver an intuitive usable interface and effortless operation that is perfectly tailored to the respective platform. These offers are available:

  • Shuffles by Pinterest: This offshoot of the well-known image platform Pinterest is aimed at younger, creative users who want to create interactive collages. According to the description in the App Store, everything should be possible, from putting together a festival outfit to creating the dream bedroom and creating a mood board. 
  • Tide Guide: Charts & Tables: This app from Condor Digital LLC is intended for everyone who loves to be on the beach and on the water. Whether it's the perfect sunset for a photo shoot or the wave forecast for surfing - everyone should find what they're looking for here. In addition to the information in the app on iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch, there are also widgets and live activities on the devices for quick access to important data.
  • flightily: This app comes from Flightly LLC and is aimed at pilots, flight personnel and anyone interested. There is information about flights and their routes, taxi times, delays, radar and so on. An integration of mail and calendar data is possible.
  • Automatys: This game from Idle Friday LTD offers different, complex obstacle courses for a ball in several levels, which is sent on its journey by pulling a virtual lever. By turning, tilting and other manipulation of individual sections, the ball is guided to the target. An interesting 3D puzzle.
  • railbound: This Afterburn game also offers puzzle fun, but in a beautifully drawn world where you have to lay tracks to get trains or wagons from A to B. The story describes the journey of two dogs around the world. That sounds very relaxing and like fun to play on rainy days or the train journey.
  • Kimono Cats: This game by HumaNature Studios can be downloaded for various devices via Apple Arcade. With a main cat and a companion cat, you pull over a beautifully drawn Matsuri festival. It's like going to the carnival, with various mini-games and the goal of making the companion cat happy.

Social Impact / Social Influence

The finalist apps in this category enrich users' lives in meaningful ways and shed light on important issues. At least that's what Apple says. This is the list of individual programs:

  • Duolingo: see list item under "Delight and Fun"
  • Sago Mini First Words: This app by Sago Mini is a language learning game for children. The software, while said to have been developed in collaboration with specialists in speech therapy and child psychology, currently only offers "first words" content for the English language. Whether toddlers need a display to learn to speak, I dare to doubt that and I find this app rather negligible compared to the others.
  • Headspace: I find the Headspace Inc. app much more useful. Because Headspace offers guided meditations and relaxation exercises. If you want to get an idea of ​​​​the offer before downloading the app, I recommend the Headspace videos on Netflix (if you have a subscription there).
  • Hindsight: This Annapurna Interactive game, developed primarily for the iPad, is about memories linked to everyday objects. Both the past and future of the characters are explored through interaction with the various content. Annapurna are best known for "Journey". I continue to recommend Florence and especially Donut County!
  • endling: This game from the HandyGames studio is dedicated to a vixen and the task of keeping her fox cubs alive in a threatening world. The dangers include not only other animals, the cold winter weather and the world artificially changed by humans, but also humans themselves. A small change of perspective for everyone who wants to deal with forest animals and the subject of species extinction.
  • Beecarbonize: Charles Games sro's Mac game is described as a climate survival card game. With the right cards you trigger political decisions, implement state-of-the-art technology and protect ecosystems so that the climate and the bees can be saved. If you are interested in the problems of the mechanized and turbo-capitalist postmodern age as well as in strategy card games, you should take a look!

Visuals and Graphics

The finalists from this category feature amazing visuals, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations that offer a distinctive and cohesive visual experience. At least that's what Apple thinks. Here is the list of apps described in this way:

  • Any distance: This Any Distance Inc. app is designed as a workout tracker for anyone who wants to record and share their outdoor activities. In addition to automatically recording time, distance, route on the map, speed and the like, there are also social network functions for sharing and challenging up to 100 friends. All of this should increase motivation. 
  • Gentler Streak Health Fitness: From Gentler Stories LLC comes this fitness tracker that focuses on the well-being of the users. So the goal here is not primarily the next big training goal, but a balance between fitness units and rest periods. Activities should thus be able to be carried out in a way that is more compatible with the body.
  • Riveo: Forge and Form GmbH offers a video editor with various editing and effect options. Somewhat promisingly, it says that you need this app to create compelling videos that go viral. Well, maybe it also depends on the content, but what do I know...
  • Diablo Immortal: This Blizzard and NetEase game made headlines when it was announced because someone in the audience asked if it was an out of season April Fool's joke. Despite the disbelief that Diablo could work as a mobile game, the game has received many downloads and fairly good reviews.
  • Resident evil village: This CAPCOM game is the eighth installment in a proven horror game series that debuted on PlayStation in 1996. 
  • Endling: see list item under "Social Impact / Social Influence"

innovation / innovation

The finalist apps in this category of the 2023 Apple Design Awards deliver according to the official overview a state-of-the-art experience through the unique use of Apple technologies that set them apart from other offerings in their genre. This brings us to the last app list of this post:

  • SwingVision: AI Tennis App: This movement analysis app by Mangolytics / SwingVision helps to improve one's tennis game. The device camera or a connected camera is used to keep a virtual eye on the player and the ball. The software's AI then analyzes the movements and path of the ball. The offer includes coaching based on the analysis to improve one's skills.
  • Camo Studio: This recording app by Reincubate Ltd. is also aimed at users of cameras - whether integrated or connected. It is a recording studio with a wide range of correction and setting options. Scenes can be set and switched between for streaming, professional meetings and demonstrations. For some maybe an alternative to OBS. It's the only one of the finalist apps that isn't available on the App Store and has to be downloaded from the web.
  • Rise: Energy & Sleep Tracker: This app aims to understand the connection between sufficient or enough sleep and the energy potential throughout the day. The description in the App Store goes into 100 years of sleep science; and that various sports teams and many of the Fortune 500 companies would rely on this app to perform at their best. Apparently full of energy you can stack quite high.
  • Resident Evil Village: see list item under "Visuals and Graphics"
  • stitch.: see list item under "Inclusivity / Inclusivity"
  • MARVEL Snap: This Second Dinner/Nuverse game closes the list. It is a digital trading card game that combines characters, locations and abilities from the Marvel Universe. There should be no waiting times and long strategic moves here, the rounds should only last around three minutes. Sounds stressful.

Interesting and not-so-interesting apps at the Apple Design Awards 2023

Subjectively, for me, there are a few highlights and a few apps that I won't look at again. However, among the highlights are some that I will definitely take a closer look at - regardless of whether they win or not. Next Tuesday we'll see who could snag an Apple Design Award. Which of the programs presented are you most interested in? Please leave your opinion as a comment!

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