Each year, the App Store Awards celebrate exceptional apps that improve people’s lives while demonstrating the greatest technical innovation, user experience, design and positive cultural impact.
This year’s winners are drawn from a list of 40 finalists, ranging from flight trackers to retro games to workout planners to meditative puzzles. In addition to demonstrating an impressive variety of approaches, styles and techniques, these winners shared a deep understanding and knowledge of Apple devices and technologies.
Find the winners and finalists of the 2023 App Store Awards
For the team behind the hidden-object game Finding HannahIt is especially important that they win for cultural influence. “We’re trying to revolutionize design by bringing more personal stories to a mainstream audience,” said Franziska Zeiner, founder and managing director of Fine Games Studios, from her Berlin office. “Finding Hannah It’s a story that spans three generations, and each one confronts the question: How free are we as women?
Hannah of Finding Hannah The 39-year-old Berlin resident is trying to navigate career, relationships (including with friend/ex Emma) and the meaning of true happiness. Players complete a series of found puzzles that revolve around the backstory of Hannah’s mother and grandmother to add a more personal touch to the game.
We are trying to make a difference at the design level by bringing more personal stories to the mainstream audience.
Franziska Zeiner, Founder and Managing Director of Fine Games
The team tried a different approach to designing art for the different time periods of the game. “We want the art style you see on social media rather than games,” Zeiner said. “The idea was to try to reach people who weren’t gamers yet, and we thought we could do that if we found a style that hadn’t been seen in games before. And I think that added a new perspective, and maybe helped set us apart a little bit.
Learn more about finding Hannah
Download Finding Hana from the App Store
Pixelmator, Mac App of the Year winning team PhotomatorIn addition to the 2023 App Store Award, it’s no stranger to award consideration, having won several Apple Design Awards. The latter is especially meaningful for the Lithuanian-based team. “We’re still a Mac-first company,” said Simonas Bastis, lead developer of the Pixelmatter team. “For what we do, the Mac adds a lot of benefits to the user experience.”
To start adding Photomator In the year For their Mac apps portfolio in 2020, Bastis and his team of engineers decided to move on to UIKit and AppKit code. Instead, they set out to build Photomator with SwiftUI specifically for Mac. “We had a lot of experience with AppKit,” says Bastis, “but we chose to move to SwiftUI to adapt to future technologies.”
Considering people need to browse and manage large libraries, the team zeroed in on maximizing performance. They also integrate many powerful editing tools such as patching, debugging, batch editing and more. Deciding what to work on—and what to prioritize—is a constant source of discussion. “We do a lot of ideas in parallel, and our priorities come naturally, based on what’s ready for shipment and what new technology might come along,” Bastis said. This year, that means focusing on HDR.
We had a lot of experience with AppKit, but wanted to create with native Mac technologies.
Simonas Bastys, lead developer of the Pixelmator team
How will Bastys and the Pixelmator team continue to grow after so long? “This is the most exciting area for me in computer science,” Bastis said. “There is so much to learn. I am just beginning to understand the depth of human vision and computer image processing. It is an ongoing challenge. But I see endless possibilities to make Photomator even better for creators.
Learn more about Photomator
Download Photomator from the Mac App Store
Cultural influence to create a winner Packing, the Australian duo of creative director Wren Brier and technical director Tim Dawson have over a decade of development experience. Their play — part Zen puzzle, part autobiography — follows a woman through the chapters of her life as she moves from her childhood bedroom to her first apartment and beyond. Players solve puzzles by placing objects around each new habitat while learning more about her story with each new level – something Brier says is similar to a detective story.
“You have these series of places, and you uncover these clues, and you’re piecing together who this person is,” she says from the couple’s home in Brisbane.
Brier and Dawson are the partners who came up with the idea. Packing From – where else? – One of their first moves. “There was something about the idea of opening one of the boxes to reveal what was underneath,” Breuer says. “They are completing tasks by putting things together in shelves and drawers. “Tim and I immediately started to inspire the game.”
While the idea was technically interesting, Dawson says, the pair were particularly drawn to the idea of unlocking it as a storytelling vehicle. “It’s a really weird example, but there’s a spatula in the game,” Dawson said. That is a very common piece of furniture. But what does it look like? Is this cheap plastic that someone got quickly? Has it been damaged as you have had it for a while? Is it one of the popular brands with a rubber handle? All this begins to paint a picture. This will be the most intimate way of knowing a character.
There was something playful about the idea of finishing one of the boxes to open the one underneath.
Wren Brier, creative director of Unpacking
Those kinds of conversations — spatula-based and otherwise — have led to games that incorporate new uses of technology, like a PG bank or the haptic feedback you get when you shake a board game. But its unique, inclusive story is the reason behind the App Store Award for Cultural Impact. Breyer and Dawson said players of all ages and backgrounds shared their passion for the game, drawn to the universal experience of moving yourself, your belongings and your life to a new home. “Someone sent us a picture of the shoes and told us they were the same as the ones in the game,” Breer laughs. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Learn more about packaging
Download the solution from the app store