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Love it or hate it, Apple is about design.

The company’s annual design awards were announced this week at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Calif., showcasing the best the iOS and Mac development communities have produced.

Since it’s better to gaze upon amazing design than to read words about it, here’s a visual treat: a tour through the best design on iPhone, iPad, and Mac for the past year. Scan through and pick up some inspiration!

Here are the winners in each section. Skip down for slideshows and links for each:


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  • iPhone
    • JetPack Joyride
    • National Parks
    • Where’s My Water?
  • iPad
    • Bobo Explores Light
    • DM1 the Drum Machine
    • Paper FiftyThree
  • Mac
    • Deus Ex
    • Limbo
    • Sketch
  • Student
    • DaWindci
    • Little Star


The best iPhone apps are sleek, sexy, and perfect for the task at hand, whether it’s gaming, organization, or education.

Here’s are winners as selected by Apple:

JetPack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios
A video game this successful with only one control? Wow.

[vb_gallery id=473310]

Where’s My Water? by Disney
You know you gotta help Swampy find his water!

[vb_gallery id=473320]

National Parks by National Geographic
Explore 20 of the United States’ most beautiful national parks on your Phone.

[vb_gallery id=473326]


iPad gives designers a little more room, but the best user interface engineers know to not take that space for granted. Instead, they create user experiences that feel roomy and spacious, with everything just in the right spot, and nothing too closely crowded.

Here are some of the best of 2012 on iPad.

Bobo Explores Light by Game Collage, LLC
Who wouldn’t want a science museum focused on light for kids age 4-12, even if you’re an adult?

[vb_gallery id=473339]

DM1 The Drum Machine by Fingerlab
You know it has to be well-designed to beat out Apple’s own GarageBand in this category.

[vb_gallery id=473346]

Paper by FiftyThree by FiftyThree, Inc.
Capture all your ideas on paper the old-school way, except a little updated for iPad.

[vb_gallery id=473352]


iPhone and iPad are getting all the glory, but the Mac is still chugging along with new Retina displays, faster processors, and new solid-state drives in Macbook Pros. The group is still growing faster than Windows-based PCs.

Here’s some of the best design on the Mac, where it all started.

Deus Ex Human Revolution Ultimate Edition by Feral Interactive, Inc.
Get augmented in a dystopic, futuristic cyberpunk computer game.

[vb_gallery id=473359]

Limbo by Playdead
Dark and atmospheric, this is a creepy but beautiful universe to enter.

[vb_gallery id=473392]

Sketch by Bohemian Coding
A professional drawing app, on your Mac, for user interface, icon, and web design.

[vb_gallery id=473402]


The best apps that the student community has created.

DaWindci by Reality Twist GmbH
Pilot your hot air balloon on the shifting winds of 45 different expeditions.

[vb_gallery id=473414]

Little Star by BiBoBox Studio
A fully interactive book with bonus games

[vb_gallery id=473422]
MobileBeat 2012Design is determining the winners in everything mobile. The most successful players are focusing on one thing: How to make products, services, and devices as compelling and delightful as possible – visually, and experientially. MobileBeat 2012, July 10-11 in San Francisco , is assembling the most elite minds to debate how UI/UX is transforming every aspect of the mobile economy, and where the opportunities lie. Register here.

Image credit: ShutterStock

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