‘And the winner is…’ Apple celebrates 2018 Design Awards

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apps wwdc screenshot
Apple rewarded the best apps of the 2018 crop.
Photo: Apple

Apple has revealed the winners of its prestigious 21st Apple Design Awards, offering a nice boost to the indie developers in question and some good recommendations for users.

The awards span nine different countries and a variety of app types, from note-taking apps to games. Check out the winners below.

“These remarkable developers used their ingenuity, smarts, and savvy to build the year’s best apps for Apple platforms,” Apple writes.

First up is Agenda, created by Netherlands-based developers Momenta B.V. This note-taking app for macOS and iOS offers crisp minimalist design and a surprising amount of features for a relatively new release. You can sync across both platforms, and will find plenty of innovative features which aren’t found in many other similar apps.

Bandimal, meanwhile, is an iOS music-making app for kids created by Finnish developers YATATOY. The cute idea is that you get to assemble music by arranging bands of animals, which each represent different instruments. Since it’s based on pentatonic scales, just about everything sounds good, but it’s a great tool for introducing children to the world of music making.

Indian developers WapleStuff picked up an Apple Design Award for their attractive modern calculator app Calzy 3. Calzy has been around for a few years now, but it’s absolutely stunning — and that’s probably the only time you get to say that about a calculator.

Austria’s iTranslate Converse is a real-time translator tool which transforms your iPhone into what is essentially the Star Trek universal translator. It’s seriously smart stuff!

U.S. developers Sauss Surgical’s Triton Sponge is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a surgical app. A serious iPad app for real surgeons, it’s used in operating theaters to measure blood loss collected during operations. This is gauged using some smart machine learning tools.

Australian developers Annapurna Interactive picked up a well-deserved prize for their stunning game Florence. It’s a story-driven game following the titular Florence, a somewhat aimless 20-something, whose life changes when she meets a cellist who she falls in love (and then out of love) with. A really stunning title for iPhone and iPad.

Playdead’s INSIDE is a Danish game for iOS and Apple TV. A puzzle-platformer set in a dystopian world, it’s full of smart environmental puzzles and stunning visuals, but with a deeper sociopolitical themes as well.

Canadian developer Snowman picked up a prize for the superb Alto’s Odyssey. Their long-awaited follow up 2015’s brilliant Alto’s Adventure, this endless sandboarding title sees you encounter vortexes which hurl you through the air and aerial obstacles such as hot air balloons that you can propel yourself off. Check out the trailer below.

Austrian developers Kunabi Brother’s Frost, meanwhile, is an experimental iOS puzzle game with a seriously trippy concept.

Finally Turkish developers Mobge Ltd. got a prize for Oddmar, a title I’ve already said may be my pick for best game of the year. A successor to their excellent 2014 title Leo’s Fortune, this platformer boasts some seriously stunning graphics and gameplay.

All the winners receive a trophy, plus a plethora of Apple devices spanning virtually the entire current line-up of products. Congrats, winners!