iMore Best of 2016

They're what changed how we worked and how we played. They're what compelled us to replace the devices on our wrist, in our pocket, on our laps or desks, and in our living rooms. They're what dictated the look of our home screens and our docks.

They're the devices and features, gear and accessories, and apps and games that filled us with surprise and delight, got us to forget what came before, and made it impossible for us to imagine how we ever lived without them.

They're our 2016 iMore Award winners!

Best of the Year

Best Apple device:

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus didn't just bring a bigger screen and battery this year, it brought a significantly better camera with optical zoom and portrait mode. And that got everyone's attention. — Rene Ritchie

Runner Up: iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Best iOS Feature

Portrait Mode

iOS packed a ton of great features into its 2016 update, but the best feature of all came in iOS 10.1. Portrait Mode exemplifies the best of Apple's software engineering smarts, creating incredible photos that, in some cases, rival DSLRs. It may be exclusively for the iPhone 7 Plus this year, but it's a sure sign of what's to come for Apple's smartphone cameras. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Differential Privacy Messages

Best macOS Feature

Apple Pay

Get ready to shop til' you drop, except you won't drop because you won't be exhausted, because all you have to do to buy stuff on macOS now is click on Apple Pay. You can confirm the payment via Apple Watch or iPhone, and if you have a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, all you need is your fingerprint. It really makes online shopping a breeze. — Lory Gil

Runners up: Auto Unlock Siri for Mac

Best watchOS Feature

Activity Sharing

Of watchOS's many great new features this year, none got me moving and motivated more than Activity Sharing: If Rene can get a workout in walking five miles in the snow, I can definitely pick up a few heavy things. — Serenity Caldwell

Runners up: Fast Watch Face Switching Breathe

Best tvOS Feature

TV app

The TV app turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even for cable cordcutters. It makes it easy to keep track of shows and movies you watch without having to remember which app you were watching it in, and it also helps you discover new content you didn't know was available to you through all of the various services. — Lory Gil

Runners up: Siri enhancements

Story of the Year

FBI vs. Apple

The FBI wanted Apple to create a back door into iOS. Apple said 'no'. The skirmish ended with the FBI finding another way, but the war over privacy has just begun. — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: Pokémon Go No new Mac desktops

Best of iPhone

Best iPhone app

Cardiogram

The Apple Watch measures your heart beat, but Cardiogram makes sense of it: This iPhone app gives you detailed heart history, averages, and even hooks into heart studies to help make people healthier around the globe. — Serenity Caldwell

Runners up: Ulysses djay Pro

Best iPhone game

Pokémon Go

To call Pokémon Go a phenomena is to undersell it. A beloved franchise found new life and the greatest spike in initial interest imaginable in a modern, mobile, agumented reality, geo-location world. — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: Reigns Super Mario Run

Best iPhone accessory

AirPods

Apple taketh the 3.5mm headphone jack from iPhone, but giveth AirPods, which use the new W1 chip to make pairing and switching between devices easier than ever before. And they shipped in time for this award! More... — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: Moment Lens Kit

Best photography app

Prisma

In a world of basic filters, 3D dog faces, and oversaturated, overbearing editing tools, Prisma stood out like a white knight who just destroyed a poorly-edited dragon. This incredibly creative mobile app lets users become true artists and manipulate their photos in totally new, non-cliche ways. Plus, it's super addicting. — Cella Lao Rousseau

Runners up: FiLMiC Pro Obscura Camera

Best Messages app

Square Cash

We use Square Cash constantly when splitting dinner checks or paying rent, and its Messages app makes the process even easier: Just select the amount you want to send, press pay, and watch it go! — Serenity Caldwell

Runners up: Momento Giphy

Best sticker pack

Grammar Snob

The funniest, worst thing you can do to a friend or enemy is to start red-lining the mistakes in their messages. Grammer Snob lets you do just that. I want to use it constantly... and punch it in the face every time it's used on me. — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: CARROT Weather Bitmoji

Best Maps app

Open Table

Why deal with Open Table's fussy web interface when you can reserve a table directly from Apple Maps? The big blue Reserve button appears for any restaurant that supports the reservation service, allowing you to quickly snag a table at your favorite place. — Serenity Caldwell

Runners up: Uber

Best Siri app

Skype

"Skype Serenity." "Call Georgia on Skype." "Message Mikah using Skype" — Combine Microsoft's communicator with Apple's new Siri apps and you get old world networking with new world ease. — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: Venmo ZOVA

Best 3D Touch app

djay Pro

Not only did Algoriddim manage to pack all of djay Pro's features into the much-smaller-than-iPad-or-Mac iPhone interface, they took advantage of something unique to the platform: full-on Taptic support. So, now, you don't just have to look at the beat — you can feel it! — Rene Ritchie

Runners up: NOISE Badland 2

Best iPhone case

Sena Lugano Wallet

With the iPhone 7 Plus's extra girth taking up more space in our bags and pockets, a great wallet case was a must for reducing clutter and having necessities on your person at all times. The Lugano case is a beautiful, slim leather option that lets you carry your cards without the bulk. — Serenity Caldwell

Runners up: Journal Silk Grip Case

Best battery case

Mophie Juice Pack

Year after year, mophie hits iPhone charging cases out of the park. They're not the cheapest, but they're high quality, high performance, and often the ones worth waiting for. — Rene Ritchie

Runner up: Apple Smart Battery Case

Best headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35

There's no other headphone I want to travel home for the holidays with than the Bose QC35. Wireless, noise-cancelling, and battery for hours on end — who could ask for anything more? — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Liberatone Q Adapt

Best HomeKit accessory

iHome Smart Plug iPS6

The iHome Smart Plug is easily the best start to any HomeKit home, because it's far simpler than fiddling with bulbs, thermostats, fans, etc. You can easily turn anything that plugs in into a HomeKit-enabled device: It's responsive, it looks great, and it's so easy to set up! — Mikah Sargent

Runner up: August Smart Lock

Best of iPad

Best iPad app

Procreate

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are fantastic tools, but Procreate harnesses them to help you create fantastic art. With its new screen broadcast features and support for the PSD format, it's an easy app of the year in our books. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Swift Playgrounds

Best iPad game

Human Resource Machine

"Coding can be fun!" But you have no idea just how fun it can be until you've played Human Resource Machine: It plays like a puzzle game, all the while teaching you the basic fundamentals of coding. — Lory Gil

Runner up: Severed

Best iPad accessory and keyboard

9.7-inch Logitech Create

After working on an iPad Pro for a year, there's no other keyboard I want by my side than the 9.7-inch Logitech Create. It's a great keyboard, offers Pencil storage, and protects my iPad Pro like nothing else. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Jot Mark

Best of Mac

Best Mac app

Spark

Spark was already a great email app for iOS, but this year Readdle brought it to the Mac with tons of useful features, including a smart inbox — my favorite way to keep track of important emails. — Lory Gil

Runner up: Capo 3.5

Best Mac game

Firewatch

Simplicity, stunning visual style, and a truly engaging story make Firewatch our game of the year: It's a pleasant reminder that indie game studios can blow Triple-A studios out of the water. — Luke Filipowicz

Runner up: Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Mac accessory

Twelve South Fermata

The big downside about Bluetooth headphones? Remembering to charge them. Twelve South's Fermata takes that stress out of the equation with a gorgeous desktop headphone stand that also packs in a built-in charger. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: LG 5K Display

Best Mac speakers

Libratone Zipp

The Libratone Zipp is an amazing speaker: Beautifully designed and impeccably built, the rounded cavity delivers 360-degree sound that works with Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify Connect. Combine two for whole-room or whole-house playback! — Daniel Bader

Runner up: UE Boom 2

Best Mac hub & dongles

OWC USB-C Dock

When USB-C alone is not enough, OWC's dock gives your MacBook or MacBook Pro more ports than you can shake a dongle at! — Rene Ritchie

Runner up: USB-C to USB-A Adapter

Best Mac external drive

LaCie Porsche Design USB-C Drive

Zoom zoom: Who doesn't want a hard drive with a race car name? Porsche Design may only be loosely affiliated with its sports car cousin, but it still makes darn nice hard drives — and the LaCie brand backs that sleek design up with a rock-solid USB-C option for MacBook and MacBook Pro users alike. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: G‑DRIVE USB‑C 1TB Drive

Best Mac bag

Waterfield Staad Attaché

If you need a stylish bag for the new MacBook Pro or your iPad, you can't go wrong with the Waterfield Staad: It has a cushioned compartment for your primary device and pockets and pouches to spare. — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Pad and Quill Roll Top Backpack

Best of Apple Watch

Best Watch app

Breathe

Breathing isn't just essential to life. It's essential to managing stress, anxiety, and your life. Breathe for Apple Watch is an amazing addition, reminding us all to simply stop, become mindful, and regain our focus. — Georgia Dow

Runner up: Streaks

Best Watch complication

Carrot Weather

Snarky and ever-present, Carrot's myriad complications for Apple Watch present you with a little weather in your life no matter what watch face you wish to wear (not that it will save you, puny human). — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: Fantastical

Best Watch accessory

Time Porter

Traveling for the holidays is never easy, especially when you're worrying about toting around charging gear for all your electronics. The Time Porter takes care of this for your Apple Watch, giving you a travel stand, charger, and accessory case — all in one! — Serenity Caldwell

Runner up: AirPods

Best Watch band

Woven Nylon

How do you beat the Sport Band at its own game? If you're Apple, you introduce the funner, more breathable Woven Nylon. Bought. So. Many. — Rene Ritchie

Best of TV

Best TV app

Hyper

The Hyper app for Apple TV offers up the best of the best videos on the internet in a beautifully designed interface. Skip sifting through YouTube lists and Vimeo recommendations and get right to the good stuff with Hyper! — Mikah Sargent

Runner up: Pokémon TV

Best TV game

Minecraft

Minecraft is a fantastic game on any device, but it is especially wonderful on your television: It's the first major game on Apple TV that requires a separate game controller. We've spent hours building, tearing down, and exploring vast landscapes in Minecraft — and are sure to spend many more. — Lory Gil

Runner up: Pokémon TV

Best TV accessory

Studio Neat Apple TV Remote Stand

Simple and sophisticated, the Studio Neat Apple TV Remote Stand gives your glass remote a small wooden home to call its own. (It's a much better place than inside the couch cushions or under the coffee table, believe us.) — Serenity Caldwell