Apple incorporated the announcement of this year’s Apple Design Award winners into its virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) online event instead of waiting until the event had wrapped, like last year. Ahead of WWDC, Apple previewed the finalists, whose apps and games showcased a combination of technical achievement, design and ingenuity. This evening, Apple announced the winners across six new award categories.
In each category, Apple selected one app and one game as the winner.
In the Inclusivity category, winners supported people from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities and languages.
This year, winners included U.S.-based Aconite’s highly accessible game, HoloVista, where users can adjust various options for motion control, text sizes, text contrast, sound and visual effect intensity. In the game, users explore using the iPhone’s camera to find hidden objects, solve puzzles and more. (Our coverage)
Another winner, Voice Dream Reader, is a text-to-speech app that supports more than two dozen languages and offers adaptive features and a high level of customizable settings.
In the Delight and Fun category, winners offer memorable and engaging experiences enhanced by Apple technologies. Belgium’s Pok Pok Playroom, a kid entertainment app that spun out of Snowman (Alto’s Adventure series), won for its thoughtful design and use of subtle haptics, sound effects and interactions. (Our coverage)
Another winner included U.K.s’ Little Orpheus, a platformer that combines storytelling, surprises and fun, and offers a console-like experience in a casual game.
The Interaction category winners showcase apps that offer intuitive interfaces and effortless controls, Apple says.
The U.S.-based snarky weather app CARROT Weather won for its humorous forecasts, unique visuals and entertaining experience, which is also available as Apple Watch faces and widgets.
Canada’s Bird Alone game combines gestures, haptics, parallax and dynamic sound effects in clever ways to brings its world to life.
A Social Impact category doled out awards to Denmark’s Be My Eyes, which enables people who are blind and low vision to identify objects by pairing them with volunteers from around the world using their camera. Today, it supports more than 300,000 users who are assisted by over 4.5 million volunteers. (Our coverage)
U.K.’s ustwo games won in this category for Alba, a game that teaches about respecting the environment as players save wildlife, repair a bridge, clean up trash and more. The game also plants a tree for every download.
The Visuals and Graphics winners feature “stunning imagery, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations,” Apple says.
Belarus-based Loóna offers sleepscape sessions, which combine relaxing activities and atmospheric sounds with storytelling to help people wind down at night. The app was recently awarded Google’s “best app” of 2020.
China’s Genshin Impact won for pushing the visual frontier on gaming, as motion blur, shadow quality and frame rate can be reconfigured on the fly. The game had previously made Apple’s Best of 2020 list and was Google’s best game of 2020.
Innovation winners included India’s NaadSadhana, an all-in-one, studio-quality music app that helps artists perform and publish. The app uses AI and Core ML to listen and provide feedback on the accuracy of notes, and generates a backing track to match.
Riot Games’ League of Legends: Wild Rift (U.S.) won for taking a complex PC classic and delivering a full mobile experience that includes touchscreen controls, an auto-targeting system for newcomers and a mobile-exclusive camera setting.
The winners this year will receive a prize package that includes hardware and the award itself.
A video featuring the winners is here on the Apple Developer website.
“This year’s Apple Design Award winners have redefined what we’ve come to expect from a great app experience, and we congratulate them on a well-deserved win,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, in a statement. “The work of these developers embodies the essential role apps and games play in our everyday lives, and serve as perfect examples of our six new award categories.”