Seven stand-out apps that caught our eye during the Apple Design Awards 2024

Apple Design Awards suggest these seven apps are worth having on your smartphone.

During Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2024, the spotlight is often on the company's newest product updates and innovations. But this isn't Apple's only exciting news at the conference. The company also announces a list of apps and games that have won its annual Apple Design Awards.

At this event, Apple determines which 14 developers from all over the world are worthy of the award for creating the best apps and games.

What are some of these apps, and how immersive are they?

What are Apple Design Awards?

While the Apple Design Awards may suggest that the main focus is on how graphically engaging the app is, the finalists are recognized not only for their impeccable visuals but also for their applications' technical and innovative abilities.

42 finalists are competing in seven different categories:

  • Delight and fun—this category is aimed at creators who can develop apps with "memorable, engaging, and satisfying experiences."
  • Inclusivity – the category for developers who create apps to ease people's everyday lives "from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, and languages."
  • Innovation – with this category, creators are encouraged to think of something out of the box.
  • Interaction – the category that focuses on apps with "intuitive interfaces and effortless controls."
  • Social impact – the category that praises developers' work on apps that create positive societal change.
  • Visuals and graphics – the winners of this category show "stunning imagery, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations."
  • Spatial computing – in this category, creators develop unique spatial experiences.

What are the winning apps, and are they worth the hype?

Here are seven apps from different categories that were tested to see how they work, how user-friendly they are, and whether they are indeed better than many other apps already available on the market.

1. Bears Gratitude (category: Delight and Fun)

The journaling app that teaches you how to “establish daily gratitude practices.” For those who roll their eyes when they hear about such a thing but were convinced to try it anyway or don’t know how to start, the app provides examples and tips on how to begin.

Every day before users start to write their entries, they also receive an encouraging idea, such as “take a walk today,” “compliment someone,” “don’t wait for inspiration,” and similar if they’re struggling to find something to be grateful for.

The app has a calendar that users can easily navigate. Since users are provided with a daily affirmation, they can go back and forth to see the previous ideas or to see what is prepared for them in the future.

Bears Gratitude also includes articles focused on self-reflection and personal growth. The short texts include funny stories and encourage users to reflect on topics such as love, mental health, leisure, and more.

The app is very colorful and full of animated images. It may seem a tad too much for bullet journal lovers, but if you’re into scrapbooking, perhaps this app is something up your alley.

2. Complete Anatomy 2024 (category: Inclusivity)

Among the finalists of Apple Design Awards for Inclusivity is an app that works as a 3D human body atlas.

The app consists of courses on various medical subjects led by doctors of different specialties. During these theoretical courses, students can learn how to read an EKG, work with trauma patients, or understand human anatomy in greater detail.

What makes this app stand out is an Atlas that shows detailed information on major body systems through 3D models and allows users to create their own 3D model to see how these different systems intertwine.

The app works as a rich learning source where students can watch videos depicting how various conditions, diseases, and substances affect bones, muscles, and organs.

Note: the app is suited for students, professionals, and educational institutions, so the rest of the curious minds only get a free 3-day trial.

Complete Anatomy 2024
Image by 3D4Medical from Elsevier

3. Tiimo - Visual Daily Planner (category: Inclusivity)

If a gratitude journal or diary isn't your thing, perhaps a visual daily planner that helps you organize your daily tasks would be better.

Numerous planner apps are available to download, but Tiimo differs from them as it's a "daily planning and learning app designed for people with diverse cognitive profiles, such as ADHD, autism, stress, and anxiety."

The app is designed to help users easily plan their days. Its AI-powered checklist can be filled automatically with general daily tasks. For example, if you decide to add a lunch break during your working hours, AI can create a checklist that includes stretching your legs, ordering food, taking a break from your screen, drinking water, and more.

If you've taken time to plan your day but don't remember everything you need to do or don't know where to start, the "Explore" section provides you with categories such as household, work, relationships, pets, etc., where you can find ideas on how to spend your day.

Tiimo planner app
Image by tiimo

4. Crouton: Recipe Manager (category: Interaction)

A replacement for notebooks with recipe clippings or links to online recipes saved in a bunch of different notes or folders, the Crouton app "lets users keep their focus on the counter rather than the screen."

The app developers focused on creating an application with a "clean" design so that users could focus on cooking by finding everything fast and easy.

On the app, users can create daily meal plans, create grocery lists, and add and organize their recipes.

One helpful feature of the app is that it provides different ways to add recipes. Considering how many recipes are now found online, the app allows you to add them from a website by simply pasting a link. Then, Crouton automatically uploads the recipe with step-by-step instructions. Adding recipes from a picture or through a scanned QR code is also possible.

5. Gentler Streak Fitness Tracker (category: Social Impact)

This app, the winner in the Social Impact category, provides users with insights into their health through fitness and mental well-being tracking.

Gentler Streak works like most other health-tracking apps. It shows the latest activity, heart rate, and sleep duration, similar to Apple Health's reports.

The app differs from other applications in that it can serve as a personal motivator. It uses available data to tell users whether it's a "great day to push forward" or perhaps "you are overreaching," so they should rest. It also checks if a user's health metrics, such as sleep, are in order by marking them "high," "elevated," "normal," or "excellent."

Gentler Fitness Tracker app
Image by Gentler Stories LLC

6. Ahead: Emotions Coach (category: Social Impact)

The finalist app in the Social Impact category, Ahead: Emotions Coach, is like a Duolingo for emotions.

It teaches users emotional intelligence by explaining what happens in their heads during certain situations and providing techniques for dealing with anxiety, stress, bursts of anger, and other uncomfortable feelings.

Initially, users are asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine what behavioral challenges they would like to overcome. These could be anxiety, procrastination, anger, lack of confidence, or positivity. Users are also encouraged to fill out an emotions "diary" to receive techniques for coping best with situations such as getting into a fight with a family member.

7. djay pro - DJ App & AI Mixer (Category: Spatial Computing)

This app, which won the Spatial Computing category, allows users to become DJs from the comfort of their homes.

While the immersive experience may be missing if you're not using the app on an Apple Vision Pro headset, the app still allows music lovers to mix, experiment, and create their own music.

Djay provides users with different turntable setups and "access to over 100 million songs." Apple Music users can also log in to their account and browse songs or create playlists through this streaming service provider.

Apple Design Awards incentivize developers to create more engaging, eye-catching, and useful apps. This task becomes more complex as it becomes harder to surprise users and create something new and valuable. Such a contest also gives a glimpse of what we, as users, are most interested in, whether it's journaling our thoughts, planning everyday meals, tracking our health, or just looking for techy ways to learn something new.