Apple Design AwardsSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple today announced the winners of its annual Apple Design Awards.
  • The eight winners are split across apps and games.
  • Winners include Darkroom, Where Cards Fall, and more.

Apple today announced the eight winners of its annual Apple Design Awards. Of those eight winners, four created apps while the remaining four built some of the best games currently available on the App Store.

In making the announcement, Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, said that getting their hands on an Apple Design Award is a big accomplishment for a developer.

"Every year, app and game developers demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship and we're honoring the best of the best," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "Receiving an Apple Design Award is a special and laudable accomplishment. Past honorees have made some of the most noteworthy apps and games of all time. Through their vision, determination, and exacting standards, the winning developers inspire not only their peers in the Apple developer community, but all of us at Apple, too."

Let's take a look at the winners of a 2020 Apple Design Award and what Apple had to say about them, starting with apps.

Darkroom

Darkroom, from Bergen Co., is a powerful photo and video editor whose interface is as beautiful as it is easy to use. It delivers great performance with super-intuitive controls and a layout that both casual and pro photographers can truly appreciate. With Apple technologies including photo and camera APIs, Home Screen quick actions, contextual menus, and haptics, Darkroom is a shining example of a high-end mobile editing tool.

A little background on Darkroom, including why the app was built in the first place.

Syrian-born app developer Majd Taby, is the lead creator behind Darkroom, a photography app that brings the power and sophistication of a desktop photo editing tool to iPhone and iPad. Darkroom launched in early 2015 but it was a trip he would take later that year which would transform the app into what it is today. Taby was motivated to pioneer new mobile editing tools while on a 10-week photojournalism trip to document the Syrian Refugee Crisis at its peak. While sorting through a terabyte of raw files and nearly 50,000 heart-wrenching photos, he sought easy tools to share these images with the world. When he couldn't find what he was looking for, he invented them.

Looom

Looom, developed by iorama.studio, is an animation playground that takes inspiration from music creation tools. Looping hand-drawn stop-motion animation in this playfully creative interface is designed for pros and consumers alike. The app's deep functionality and intuitive interface are complemented by novel custom controls. Made for iPadOS, Looom uses Apple technologies including Apple Pencil and Dark Mode to their fullest.

Shapr3D

Shapr3D, from Shapr3D Zartkoruen Mukodo Reszvenytarsasag, is a powerful CAD app for iPad that has the potential to drastically transform the architectural and technical drawing workflow. There's no need for a desk, so inspiration can hit anytime, anywhere. Using only an iPad and Apple Pencil, technical designers have access to a robust modeling toolset to easily create complex 3D models. Designed exclusively for iPad, Shapr3D takes advantage of ARKit and drag and drop. Later this year, the app will use the LiDAR Scanner to automatically generate an accurate 2D floor plan and 3D model of a room, which can be used as the basis to design remodels or room additions. The new design can then be previewed in real-world scale using AR right in the room scanned.

StaffPad

StaffPad, from StaffPad Ltd., brilliantly converts handwritten musical notations into digital sheet music. Designed for composers who want an easy solution for writing and composing music digitally, the app uses Apple technologies such as Apple Pencil, drag and drop, and Core ML to transform each bar into beautifully typeset music notation that can be edited using intuitive touch or Apple Pencil tools.

Moving on to games, we start with one of Apple Arcade's hit titles in Sayonara Wild Hearts.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

"Sayonara Wild Hearts," from developer Simogo and publisher Annapurna Interactive, has been lauded for outstanding design since its launch. A pop album video game that is hopeful, gorgeous, and unique, "Sayonara Wild Hearts" gets players' adrenaline pumping and makes their spirit soar. The game delivers vibrant and surreal landscapes, mesmerizing visuals and motion, and thrilling and kinetic gameplay. It makes extensive use of Apple technologies including Metal, Game Center, spatial audio, and game controllers.

Sky: Children of the Light

"Sky: Children of the Light," from thatgamecompany, has players flying across sweeping landscapes in a magical kingdom to help celestial beings find their way back to the heavens. With its clever multiplayer integration and adventurous graphical showcase, "Sky: Children of the Light" is a groundbreaking social quest. The team used Apple technologies including a custom Metal engine, haptics, Game Center, and spatial audio.

Song of Bloom

"Song of Bloom," from indie developer Philipp Stollenmayer, is a unique game with a nonlinear tale packed with clever puzzles. Players explore a story told in rapidly changing art styles as they progress though the game. "Song of Bloom" delivers an innovative, handcrafted gameplay experience with great design.

And when Apple calls something "a hidden gem", you listen.

Song of Bloom [] is a beautifully artistic game that tests the player's creative problem-solving mind, an especially captivating challenge when the puzzles are represented as much by what is on screen, as what is not. The story unfolds before the player's eyes as puzzles become more immersive and more colorful than the last. It is completely unique. A truly hidden gem.

Where Cards Fall

"Where Cards Fall," from developer The Game Band and publisher Snowman, is a slice-of-life adventure game in which players build houses of cards to bring formative memories to life. The game takes advantage of Apple technologies, including Metal, haptics, Game Center, and iCloud, to bring to life its dreamlike spatial puzzles, immersive audio, and unique miniature-art style.

Apple closed out the announcement by noting a massive 250 developers have won Apple Design Awards in the last 20 years. I can't wait to see what great apps and games developers will create this year!

Oh, and there's a delightful video for you to watch, too!

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