Apple's App Store Awards 2022 brings surprises and VR hype for next year

App Store Awards 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced the winners of the App Store Awards 2022, with BeReal – the new social platform that has you snapping and sharing a pair of photos (one from your phone's front and one from the back camera) each day, took the App of the Year award this year.

The App Store Awards is a yearly event where Apple recognizes developers and the apps they've created that have made the biggest impact on its users and the company. Whether that’s in social media, games or sport, they take advantage of the hardware and software that Apple's recently brought out.

There were a bunch of games that were highlighted this year, such as Wilde Flowers and Inua winning the Apple Arcade game of the year and Cultural Impact award respectively, while GoodNotes 5, developed Time Base Technology Limited, took the iPad App of the Year award.

It's interesting to spot that there's 16 winners here, rather than 15 of the previous years – that's because there's a new 'China Game of the Year' added to the roster, which only shows the breadth of how one country is making an impact on the App Store.

With this in mind, TechRadar reached out to the developers of Wylde Flowers, Gentler Streak and Inua about plans for their apps in the near future, after winning these awards from Apple.

Apple's App Store shows no sign of slowing down

WildeFlowers on iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Available on Apple Arcade, Wylde Flowers is a game reminiscent of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, where you control the protagonist – Tara, building and running a farm during the day while also moonlighting as a witch during the night.

Developed by Studio Drydock, the developers told us that they were proud to receive the Apple Arcade game of the year, but that there's also an upcoming update called 'Endless Seasons and Romance' – due for a December release – which will feature different weather effects and new content that players will be able to enjoy.

We asked the team if they would also include the ability to finally customize Tara, and while they said that they were aware of this request from many players, it wasn't something that they were considering for the time being.

Inua is a time-traveling adventure game that makes for an immersive time on iPhone and iPad, and while developers Arte Experience told us that a version of the game appearing on Apple TV would make for a good next step when we suggested it, they didn't confirm whether this is expansion would be in the game's future.

Alongside this, Gentler Streak achieves the unique task of encouraging you to work out in a calm and concise way, with useful information inside a well-designed app. The team also confirmed that Live Activities – a feature from iOS 16.1 that allows widgets to show live updates on the Lock Screen – is coming to a future update of the app, alongside adding photos to workouts and more complications to the watchOS app.

Overall, it's encouraging to see so many varied apps earning awards this year, although it would be nice to see another award that highlights accessibility; either as a separate award or included as a mention as part of other awards.

Regardless, with rumors of an Apple VR headset allegedly debuting in 2023, we could see a completely different App Store Awards next year. It's a good time to be an Apple user, with the innovation that these independent developers are still bringing to the table, almost 15 years since the App Store debuted, alongside the iPhone 3G, back in 2008.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.