On Wednesday, Apple unveiled its picks for the top apps and games of 2023, highlighting a collection that focuses heavily on personal exploration and growth.
Apps honored in platform-specific categories included the outdoor exploration tool AllTrails for iPhone, the workout guide SmartGym for Apple Watch, beauty planning app Prêt-à-Makeup for iPad, and the arthouse-adjacent film streamer Mubi for Apple TV. Only in the Mac category, where the award went to photo-editing tool Photomator, did the company choose a traditional productivity tool.
Apple also gave out awards for games on each of its platforms and honored five apps for “cultural impact.” Here’s a complete list of its picks:
iPhone App of the Year: AllTrails, from AllTrails.
iPad App of the Year: Prêt-à-Makeup, from Prêt-à-Template.
Mac App of the Year: Photomator, from UAB Pixelmator Team.
Apple TV App of the Year: Mubi, from Mubi.
Apple Watch App of the Year: SmartGym, from Mateus Abras.
iPhone Game of the Year: Honkai: Star Rail, from COGNOSPHERE PTE. LTD.
iPad Game of the Year: Lost in Play, from Snapbreak Games.
Mac Game of the Year: Lies of P, from NEOWIZ.
Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Hello Kitty Island Adventure, from Sunblink.
Pok Pok from Pok Pok
Proloquo from AssistiveWare
Too Good To Go from Too Good To Go
Unpacking from Humble Bundle
Finding Hannah from Fein Games
As part of an Apple’s briefing, leaders from AllTrails, Mubi, and food waste minimization app Too Good to Go spoke to Fast Company about how their apps came to be and where they’re headed.
AllTrails launched in 2010 as a website and debuted its app in 2014. Getting on the iPhone had the crucial effect of letting hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts actually access the platform while outside, says CEO Ron Schneidermann. “That was a game changer for us, and that was a game changer for our community,” he says.
Now, the app still features a mix of interactive trail maps users can use as they hike and a growing number of tools to help plan an outdoor excursion, including recently added national park guides for multiple countries and an “Advanced Conditions” feature that lets users plan ahead for weather, ground conditions, and even mosquito activity. “We wanted to help our users be ready for whatever the day brings,” says chief product officer Ivan Selin.
AllTrails includes personal stats and achievements, but the company emphasizes it’s meant to help anyone interested in heading outside, not a competitive fitness or endurance app.
Mubi, too, sees its handpicked selection of films as being for everyone. “We strongly believe that access to great cinema is necessary, universal and inclusive,” says chief marketing officer Lilly Riber. “We make sure that our program is incredibly diverse.”
The service got its start in 2007, when founder and CEO Efe Çakarel was traveling overseas and was shocked to find nowhere online to watch the kinds of films he wanted to see. Mubi now provides subscribers with a collection of curated new releases and classics, along with plenty of film analysis through a podcast and even its own print publication.
“Curation is a powerful means of expression and one we take seriously,” says Daniel Kasman, vice president of content, editorial for Mubi. “We don’t just put films on a platform. We provide our take.”
The service reaches users through a mix of platforms, with many browsing films on an iPhone or iPad before tuning in on their TVs.
Too Good To Go launched in Copenhagen in 2015 and lets users buy a “surprise bag” of surplus food from a local eatery, including bakeries, supermarkets, and restaurants. Purchasers don’t know exactly what’s in the bag, but it’s generally about $15 worth of food for $5, and they can see which businesses nearby have bags available via the company’s app.
The goal is to reduce food waste—“Most people don’t know how big of an issue it is,” says CEO Mette Lykke, pointing to statistics on greenhouse gas emissions—while giving people access to cheap food and businesses some extra revenue. Too Good to Go is also rolling out a program with “Magic Parcels” of food delivered from manufacturers and wholesalers—which can also have food waste issues—direct to interested consumers.
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