Apple on Wednesday announced its choices for the best iOS apps of 2015. Taking top honors was Periscope, an app Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, called “truly revolutionary.”
That Periscope was named app of the year for iPhone shouldn’t be surprising; Meerkat may have hit the market first, but Periscope really captured the zeitgeist. It didn’t hurt that Twitter acquired the small team behind the app before it even launched.
Other iPhone apps honored this year include photo editing app Enlight, stock-trading app Robinhood, the amazing productivity tool Workflow and health apps such as Lark and Fit Men Cook.
For the iPad, The Robot Factory by Tinybop was selected as iPad App of the Year. The Robot Factory is an app that lets kids build, test and collect robots. Other iPad app honorees include HBO Now, Patterning: Drum Machine and LiquidText.
For the editorial picks for Apple’s best iOS apps of 2015, they ran the gamut. Some winners, like Periscope, originally had small teams and were acquired by bigger companies. Other apps, such as HBO Now, are truly the product of big companies, but they still managed to push the envelope in other ways. Cue cited HBO Now as one of his favorite apps of the year, just by the virtue of how much more HBO he now watches as a result.
And some apps — especially in the gaming categories — are successes that grew out of upstarts. Prune, which Apple names its Best iPad Game of the Year, is the product of one person. It’s the type of game Cue loves: “Who’d think a game about trimming trees would be so beautiful and fun,” Cue said. “But they’ve done an amazing job.”
The most-downloaded apps of the year
In addition to the editorial picks, Apple also released its year-end charts of its most-downloaded apps and games of 2015. Most of the big players — Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube — are on this list, but so are some apps you might not expect.
Crossy Road is the most downloaded free iPad app and in the top 10 of the most-downloaded iPhone apps. From Aussie-developers Hipster Whale, Crossy Road is an updated take on Frogger.
We spoke with Hipster Whale cofounder Matt Hall, one of the founders of Hipster Whale, about Crossy Road and its success in 2015 — an app that has transcended just mobile and moved to the Apple TV.
Originally, Crossy Road was a project that cofounders Matt Hall and Andy Sum worked on as a game to do between projects. But quickly into the development process, Hall said he knew something was different and that “this could be something really special.”
“We assumed failure but planned for success,” Hall said. At launch, Apple featured the game as one of its best new iPhone apps of the week. And while Hall can’t say how much that early exposure ultimately helped the game (we think it’s the sort of game that had a viral component regardless of how it was featured), he acknowledged that being featured was “enormously helpful” and helped give the game “legitimacy.”
With more than 40 million downloads for Crossy Road on iOS alone, the game has legs.
The list: Top downloads
Top free iPhone apps:
1. Trivia Crack
9. Crossy Road – Endless Arcade Hopper
10. Google Maps
Top paid iPhone apps:
1. Heads Up!
2. Minecraft: Pocket Edition
3. Trivia Crack (Ad Free)
4. Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
6. Geometry Dash
7. Five Nights at Freddy’s
9. Plague Inc.
10. Goat Simulator
Top free iPad apps:
1. Crossy Road – Endless Arcade Hopper
2. Candy Crush Soda Saga
6. The Calculator – Free
7. Microsoft Word
8. Trivia Crack
9. Skype for iPad
Top paid iPad apps:
1. Minecraft: Pocket Edition
2. Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
3. Five Nights at Freddy’s
4. Geometry Dash
6. Goat Simulator
7. Heads Up!
8. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
9. Toca Kitchen 2
10. Monument Valley
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