Apple Design Award 2023: 12 Best-in-Class Apps and Games

The Apple Design Award is one of the top honors given to apps that are available on the App Store. It is not only a recognition of exceptional design and user experience but also a seal of approval that signifies the quality and innovation that these apps possess. With around 2 million apps currently available on the App Store, getting recognized with an Apple Design Award is a huge achievement. In this blog, we will take a look at the Apple Design Awards and the winner of the Apple Design Awards 2023!

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What are Apple Design Awards?

The Apple Design Awards (ADAs) is an annual event held by Apple Inc. to recognize outstanding design and innovation in software and hardware applications for its platforms, including iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Brief History of the Apple Design Awards:

The awards have evolved over the years, reflecting changes in technology and the company’s focus. Here’s a brief history of the Apple Design Awards:

First introduced at WWDC in 1997

The Apple Design Award was first introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 1997, which was held in San Jose, California. The awards were initially called the Human Interface Design Excellence (HIDE) Awards. The purpose of the award was to recognize the best software products that were being developed by the developers for the Mac operating system. The award was given to products that demonstrated exceptional design, innovation, and excellence in execution.

Rebranded as the Apple Design Awards in 2003

According to Wikipedia, in 2003, the HIDE Awards were rebranded as the Apple Design Awards. During this period, the awards expanded to include more categories, such as “Best Mac OS X Product,” “Best Mac OS X User Experience,” “Best Mac OS X Technology Adoption,” and “Best Mac OS X Open Source Product.”

Prestigious recognition for developers

Since then, the Apple Design Award has become an annual tradition at the WWDC, where Apple recognizes the best in iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and MacOS app design and innovation. The award is presented to apps that have innovative features, technical excellence, outstanding design, and usefulness and relevance to the App Store customers.

Apple Design Award 2023: 12 Best-in-Class Apps and Games



Winners in this category provide a great experience for all by supporting people from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, and languages.

App: Universe — Website Builder

Developer: Universe Exploration Company (United States)

Introduction: The Universe is a website builder that lets you choose a domain and set up shop in minutes. Make anything you want, anywhere in the world—from your phone, iPad, or Mac.

With Universe, you can get a website up and running in five minutes. To get started, just give your website a name, claim a domain (Universe will suggest alternates if yours is taken), and choose the type of site you’re building.

In terms of inclusive design, Universe integrates a large number of Apple accessibility features, among which the implementation of dynamic fonts and narration is particularly outstanding, supporting the construction of websites in more than 17 languages.

Game: stitch.

Developer: Lykke Studios (Thailand)

Introduction: Stitch. is a casual puzzle game with embroidery on a numbered grid. The main objective is to fill in the levels’ areas with no gaps to complete Hoops. It offers an expansive range of playable content and thousands of easy to extremely challenging levels. Pick the pattern, size, and category of the Hoop you prefer and move forward through the levels to create an embroidered masterpiece. Like any other form of art, hand embroidery brings you a peaceful, calming, and inspiring experience.

In terms of inclusive design, this game provides multi-language support, and it has specially designed custom accessibility options for users with color blindness, low vision, and motion sensitivity, and strives to allow various groups of people to play freely.

Finalists for this category include Passenger Assistance by TRANSREPORT, Anne by Alessandro Di Maio, Ancient Board Game Collection by Klemens Strasser, and Finding Hannah by Fein Games GmbH.


Delight and Fun

Winners in this category provide memorable, engaging, and satisfying experiences that are enhanced by Apple technologies

App: Duolingo

Developer: Duolingo, Inc. (United States)

Introduction: Duolingo is a fun, free app for learning 40+ languages through quick, bite-sized lessons. Practice speaking, reading, listening, and writing to build your vocabulary and grammar skills. Designed by language experts and loved by hundreds of millions of learners worldwide, Duolingo helps you prepare for real conversations in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, English, and more.

Apple pointed out that Duolingo’s redesign of the interface and content last year further gamified the learning experience, “effectively attracting users to linger and explore and persist in learning.”
In addition, Duolingo continues to introduce new language courses, including courses for endangered languages and indigenous languages.

Game: Afterplace

Developer: Evan Kice (United States)

Introduction: Afterplace is an adventurous indie game for mobile devices. It’s a huge open world, full of hidden secrets, treasures, and creatures. You’ll run around the woods, fight monsters, and talk to ostensibly shady characters!

Afterplace has been designed from the ground up to be a fast, fluid, beautiful experience for mobile. There are no virtual buttons. You can move and attack by touching anywhere. You can tap objects directly to interact or attack, or use two thumbs like a traditional controller. The game will adapt dynamically to your play style. Pick up and set down the game at your own pace, it will always save your progress. Afterplace is made to feel like a full-fledged indie adventure game that fits in your pocket.

Apple commented that although the style of Afterplace is nostalgic, the gameplay is very modern. The huge open world allows players to explore freely, interesting mysteries, hidden rewards, and sarcastic vending machines, and the fun details are not to be missed.

Finalists for this category include Creme by The CREME Group Inc., Chantlings by IORAMA, Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! by GAME FREAK Inc., and Knotwords by Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger.


Winners in this category deliver intuitive interfaces and effortless controls that are perfectly tailored to their platforms.

App: Flighty

Developer: Flighty LLC (United States)
Introduction: Beautifully designed and powerful to use, Flighty is a first-class flight tracker for those on the move. The app offers detailed flight maps, live tracking, and delay forecasting — but the real magic is the perfectly timed notifications that keep you up-to-date and stress-free.
Flighty offers detailed flight maps, airport navigation, and delay forecasting, all neatly packaged in a gorgeous app. From pertinent information in easily accessible places to a user-friendly interface and comprehensive live maps, Flighty delivers unrivaled travel experiences. The app thoughtfully fuses Apple’s impressive technologies, including Siri Shortcuts, Apple Maps, Live Activities, and more, to keep travelers covered at every step of their journeys.

Game: Railbound

Developer: Afterburn (Poland)
Introduction: Railbound is a comfy track-bending puzzle game about a pair of dogs on a train journey around the world. Connect and sever railways across different landscapes, and help everyone reach their homes. Solve over 200 clever puzzles ranging from gentle slopes to twisted passageways.
Apple thinks that the Railbound game is a stunning puzzler that is easy to enjoy and challenging to master. It features clean animation, vivid visuals, and a simple onboarding process. Then it also excludes excess verbiage, confusing points, and menu navigation. Thanks to its intuitive design, Railbound lets players quickly fix mistakes and get back on track. The animation is of the highest quality, and the visuals are colorful. These make Railbound a game that is easy to start and hard to stop playing.
Finalists for this category include Shuffles by Pinterest by Pinterest, Inc.; Tide Guide: Charts & Tables by Condor Digital LLC; Automatoys by Idle Friday LTD; and Kimono Cats by HumaNature Studios Inc.

Social Impact

Winners in this category improve lives in a meaningful way and shine a light on crucial issues.

App: Headspace

Developer: Headspace (United States)
Introduction: Headspace saves your meditation sessions to your Apple Health app. It provides guided meditations, courses, and mindfulness exercises to help people learn how to relax, manage stress, and become happier.
Apple pointed out that Headspace makes mindfulness accessible to everyone with the sleek design elements present in its app’s minimalist interface, delightful video content, and unique illustrations. Users have the flexibility to choose from multiple voices that can guide them through a vast collection of content tailored to various needs, including lengthy guided sessions or a quick five-minute mindfulness break. What’s more, Headspace’s Apple Watch integration enables users to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

Game: Endling

Developer: HandyGames (Germany)
Introduction: Endling is a game that provides the player to experience a world ravaged by mankind through the eyes of the last fox on Earth in this eco-conscious adventure. By discovering the destructive force of the human race. As it corrupts, pollutes, and exploits the most precious and valuable resources of the natural environment day by day.
Endling casts players as a fox fighting to navigate a land charred by environmental disaster and human impact. Apple believes that the immersive experience of this game can make players resonate naturally. This extraordinary adventure story conveys a profound theme at the core of the game. This combination seems appropriate today.
Finalists for this category include Duolingo by Duolingo, Inc.; Sago Mini First Words by Sago Mini; Hindsight by Team Hindsight; and Beecarbonize by Charles Games s.r.o.

Visuals and Graphics

Winners in this category feature stunning imagery, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations that lend to a distinctive and cohesive theme.

App: Any Distance

Developer: Any Distance Inc. (United States)
Introduction: Discover a new way to stay active and connected with Any Distance – a social network designed to bring positivity, inclusion, and motivation to your fitness journey. Say goodbye to algorithms, ads, and competition, and embrace a close-knit community of like-minded friends. Activities are private by default, ensuring your personal progress remains your own. When you choose to share your activities, you can opt to hide specific stats like pace and time, fostering a supportive and non-judgmental space for you and your friends.
Apple lauded this app for taking advantage of health data to offer traditional physical training, wheelchair exercises, stroller runs and walking, and recumbent bicycle exercises in a single application. With the added incentive of reward collections, this app sets a new standard in fitness tracking.

Game: Resident Evil Village

Developer: CAPCOM Co., Ltd. (Japan)
Introduction: Experience survival horror like never before in the 8th major installment in the Resident Evil franchise – Resident Evil Village. With detailed graphics, intense first-person action, and masterful storytelling, the terror has never felt more realistic.
This thrilling adventure game takes full advantage of the powerful combination of the Apple chip, ProMotion adaptive refresh rate technology, and Metal 3 to bring fans of the series amazing characters, lighting effects, and an action experience.
From creepy old castles to dilapidated factories to hideous villains, Resident Evil Village brings exceptionally realistic graphics to Apple devices.
Finalists for this category include Gentler Streak Health Fitness by Gentler Stories LLC; Riveo by Forge and Form GmbH; Diablo Immortal by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase, Inc.; and Endling by HandyGames.


Winners in this category provide a state-of-the-art experience through the novel use of Apple technologies that set them apart in their genre.

App: SwingVision: A.I. Tennis App

Developer: SwingVision Inc. (United States)
Introduction: The Official Player & Ball Tracking App of Tennis Australia, LTA, and ITA. Backed by investors Andy Roddick and James Blake. Built by A.I. experts from Tesla and Apple. SwingVision’s patented A.I. provides automated scoring & stats using footage from just a single camera!
Apple recognizes SwingVision as a top-tier tennis app, providing unparalleled coaching through state-of-the-art AI and Neural Engine technology. By analyzing your form through advanced video tracking capabilities, SwingVision provides valuable insights and recommendations to help you improve your performance. It also offers in-depth analysis through Apple Watch integration, taking your game to the next level. Perfect your game with SwingVision, the ultimate tennis companion.


Developer: Second Dinner (China)
Introduction: MARVEL SNAP is a fast-paced collectible card game with innovative mechanics that has been called “accessible, and utterly brilliant” and “one of the best card games” on mobile.

Build your deck of 12 cards. Each Card represents a Marvel Super Hero or Villain, each with a unique power or ability. The goal of the game is to outsmart and outwit your opponent. Learning how to play only takes a few minutes, and matches only take 3-minutes.

Apple hails this collectible card game as a genre-redefining masterpiece, thanks to its brisk gameplay and innovative “snap” mechanic that raises the stakes and adds exciting, new layers of strategy to the game. Dive into the world of MARVEL SNAP and discover what all the hype is about.

Finalists for this category include Camo by Reincubate Ltd.; Rise: Energy & Sleep Tracker by Rise Science Inc.; Resident Evil Village by CAPCOM Co., Ltd.; and Stitch. by Lykke Studios.


The Apple Design Awards have become a prestigious recognition for developers, showcasing the best in design and innovation across Apple’s platforms. Winning an ADA can significantly boost an app’s visibility and credibility, leading to increased downloads and user engagement. The awards continue to evolve along with Apple’s product lineup, highlighting the company’s commitment to excellence in design and user experience. As Apple continues to evolve, the Apple Design Award will undoubtedly continue to develop and reward innovation in app design and development.

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