With a press release and special sections featured on its digital storefronts this morning, Apple revealed the most popular apps, games, and media releases of 2017.
As in previous years, the company’s App Store editors have selected the best apps and games of the year for every software platform – iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. On the iPad, professional photo editing app Affinity Photo has been named App of the Year, with Jonathan Blow’s The Witness winning Game of the Year; on the iPhone, Apple Design Award 2017 winner Splitter Critters was also named Game of the Year, while meditation and relaxation app Calm was chosen as the App of the Year. The Witness was also selected as Game of the Year on the Mac App Store, where Aurora HDR 2018 won in the app category. Due to the localized nature of the App Store, winners may be different in other countries and regions.
Similarly to previous annual charts, Apple has revealed top charts for the most popular apps and games of the year too. Video unsurprisingly dominated the iPad’s Top Free charts with YouTube and Netflix in the two leading spots; on iPhone, Bitmoji and Snapchat were the most downloaded free apps of the year. Super Mario Run was the most popular free game of 2017, while Heads Up and Minecraft were recognized as the most popular paid ones.
Apple’s curated lists extend to Apple Music and iTunes for movies, TV shows, and podcasts as well. Among dozens of picks, Apple listed Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You and Drake’s More Life as the Top Song and Top Album of 2017, respectively; Moana was the Top Movie of 2017, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Wonder Woman.
What sets this year’s lists apart is the increased reliance on editorial curation and different story formats used to showcase winners. On the iOS 11 App Store, the Today tab has been refreshed this morning with stories about the apps and games that were selected by Apple, featuring interviews with the developers and annotated screenshots. While game and app picks can also be viewed on the respective Games and Apps front pages, it’s in the Today tab that Apple was able to put higher emphasis on each winner and tell the story behind it.
The deeper focus on editorial curation is evident in the Trends of the Year list, which has identified “four breakout trends” in app culture: AR, real-time competitive gaming, mindfulness and meditation, and apps reinventing reading and storytelling. This thoughtful and longform approach to editorial curation on the App Store – with explanations by Apple editors, multiple app picks for each trend, and inline media – would have been impossible without iOS 11’s App Store redesign, which is particularly paying off for this kind of annual event.
You can find Apple’s Best of 2017 lists on the front pages of the App Store, Apple Music, Podcasts, and iTunes today. We’ve compiled a list of the app and game winners for each Apple platform below.