Each year Apple reveals its annual ‘Best Of’ feature for the iTunes store and App store, with this year’s winners chosen for their contribution to creativity on iOS devices.
This year’s the top spot for iPhone app of the year, chosen by Apple’s editors, went to Action Movie FX, which is an app created by JJ Abrahams’ Bad Robot Interactive and lets iOS users add Hollywood special effects to videos.
The award for iPad app of the year, again chosen by its editors, went to Paper, an app that lets you create sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes and drawings – and then share them online.
The top games of 2012 are decided by top download or sales, the top spot for top iPhone game went to Ubisoft’s Rayman Jungle Run, and on iPad the top was awarded to the The Room, a puzzle game with a mystery element that has captivated audiences this year.
Social game publisher Zynga had a difficult 2012, but one bright spot for the struggling social gaming company has been its social Poker game, which was the highest grossing iPhone game for the year on the UK and US app stores. Interestingly it wasn’t even released this year, but actually came out in 2010.
More than half the 99 iPhone apps listed on Apple’s Top Grossing Chart are actually freemium games, with titles like Kingdoms of Camelot and Bejeweled Blitz taking the second and third behind Zynga poker.
Fellow freemium games The Simpsons: Tapped Out (7), CSR Racing (9) and DragonVale (10) also make it into the top 10, alongside three social apps – Match.com (4), WhatsApp Messenger (5) and Badoo (8) – and navigation app TomTom UK & Ireland (6).
For the UK the top grossing iPad app was Apple’s own word processor: Pages, followed by The Times, The Kingdom of Camelot, DragonVale, The Telegraph, The Guardian and Observer, Quick Office Pro HD, Smurfs’ Village, Comics The Sims Freeplay were all in the top ten.
Despite the success of the some notable newspapers, the Sun, Daily Mail and Sunday Times all featured outside the top ten, with their app offerings.
Christmas is the most important time for App developers
Apple also revealed that the most lucrative day for App purchases is, unsurprisingly, Christmas day and boxing day – were there are thousands of new device being unwrapped across the world.
Apple’s own recommendations are likely to be really important for developers as the extra coverage is likely to give the apps a significant boost in sales, advertising or in-app purchases.
Google has yet to launch a similar end-of-year promotion on its Google Play store for Android, although it is also likely to be mulling its store-promotions strategy for the festive period.
With Apple’s list now public, attention on iOS will turn to a week of frenzied price-cutting and big-app releases leading up to 21 December, when Apple will freeze the App Store charts and stop putting new apps live until 28 December. Apps and games riding high in the charts when they lock for Christmas can expect a bumper festive period.
Elsewhere Apple also unveiled its best of charts for album, movies and TV shows. It’s not surprised that Adele’s 21 finished top of the album charts, while Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ took the top spot for most downloaded song. Apple’s editors gave nods to Grizzly Bear’s album ‘Shield,’ Breaking Bad for best TV show and Peter Heller’s e-book ‘The Dog Stars’.
1 Adele, 21
2 Taylor Swift, Red
3 Mumford & Sons, Babel
4 One Direction, Up All Night
5 Fun., Some Nights
6 Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
7 The Lumineers, The Lumineers
8 John Mayer, Born and Raised
9 Maroon 5, Overexposed
10 Jason Aldean, Night Train
1 Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
2 Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know
3 Fun., We Are Young
4 Maroon 5, Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
5 Nicki Minaj, Starships
6 One Direction, What Makes You Beautiful
7 Kelly Clarkson, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
8 Fun., Some Nights
9 Flo Rida, Whistle
10 Flo Rida, Wild Ones (feat. Sia)
Of course, the staff have their say, too. Here’s what they picked:
Album: Grizzly Bear, Shields
Song: fun. featuring Janelle Monae, We Are Young
Breakthrough album: The Lumineers, The Lumineers
Blockbuster: The Avengers
Director: Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson
Discovery: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Star-Making Performance: The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence
Show: Breaking Bad, Season 5
Episode: “The Weekend,” Homeland Season 1
Debut: Girls, Season 1
Cast: Happy Endings, Season 3
Novel: The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
Nonfiction: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Young Adult Novel: The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Multi-Touch Books: Fashion, DK Publishing