Apple picking: iPhone maker announces its favorite 2019 apps, games and podcasts

Apple Best of 2019
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is picking winners from its software and entertainment ecosystem, which was bursting with content in 2019, partly due to the debut of Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus.

The Cupertino firm is now spotlighting the best apps, games, podcasts, and even big trends through a new celebratory showcase dubbed the 'App Store's Best of 2019'.

With Best of 2019, the company's App Store editorial team is touting its favorites on each hardware platform, from the iPhone and iPad to Mac and Apple TV.

Here are the winners of app awards and app trends, according to Apple. 

  • iPhone App of the Year: Spectre Camera (Lux Optics)
  • iPad App of the Year: Flow by Moleskine (Moleskine)
  • Mac App of the Year: Affinity Publisher (Serif Labs)
  • Apple TV App of the Year: The Explorers (The Explorers Network)
  • App Trend of 2019: Storytelling Simplified

The 'app trend' pick is based on a series of apps – anything that can help you tell your story: Anchor (Anchor FM), Unfold (Unfold Creative), Steller (Expedition Travel Advisor), Over (Over, Inc) and Wattpad (Wattpad Corp).

Apple's Best Games of 2019 picks were also split up by hardware platform. The thinking here may be that some games are best suited for the big screen – aka, with Apple TV – while others are a better fit for the iPhone and its portability.

  • iPhone Game of the Year: Sky: Children of the Light (thatgamecompany)
  • iPad Game of the Year: Hyper Light Drifter (Abylight S.L.)
  • Mac Game of the Year: GRIS (Devolver / Nomada Studio) 
  • Apple TV Game of the Year: Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (DotEmu)
  • Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Sayonara Wild Hearts”(Simogo)
  • Game Trend of 2019: Blockbusters Reimagined

Again, you'll need more context to the broad 'trends' pick. It's based on original hits reimagined. Think “Mario Kart Tour” (Nintendo), “Minecraft Earth” (Mojang), “Pokémon Masters” (DeNA Co), “Assassin’s Creed Rebellion” (Ubisoft), “Gears POP!” (Microsoft Corporation), “The Elder Scrolls: Blades” (Bethesda) and “Call of Duty: Mobile” (Activision Publishing) 

Not to be completely forgotten, Apple is giving podcasts much-needed limelight with the following picks:

  • Best True Crime Show - White Lies
  • Best Fiction Show - Carrier
  • Best History Show - 1619 

With Apple contributing to the ever-growing content scene, it's helpful to have the team behind the App Store spotlight their personal favorites. The redesigned App Store that debuted with iOS 12 helped, but we like easy, simple-to-read lists, too.

And there's something to be said about the editorialized picks here. It's about seeing more than commercially successful brands like Angry Birds, Instagram, TikTok and others dominate the game and app charts everyday.

Matt Swider