Apple has announced its 2011 Design Award winners at WWDC. The awards are the Oscars for apps and recognize the best developers in four categories: iPhone, iPad, Mac and Student.
iPhone Developer Showcase
This sword-fighting, action game was developed exclusively for iOS and offers an innovative user experience using a first-person sword-fighting mechanic. Amazing graphics, high production quality, and incredible performance with console level graphics create disbelief about what can be done on a mobile device. And Game Center integration and Game Center multi-player mode keeps players coming back.
Golfscape GPS Rangefinder is an augmented reality, visual golf rangefinder used by players to pinpoint positing on the golf course for accurate shot placement. It uses the compass to show position indicators and point to target, and offers superior use of the Camera, Gyroscope, and Accelerometer for an accurate, full 360-degree view of the course. Fast app switching between Golfscape and Golfshot allows you to keep score and view a top down 2D map of the hole being played. And background GPS keeps track of where you are on the course between shots – even when your iPhone is asleep or performing other tasks.
This is the game Greg Joswiak called “addictive” during Scott Forstall’s Notifications Center demo on Monday.
Cut the Rope is an amazing physics puzzle game, representing a high quality, high production value, casual game. Its clean, simple design offers a straightforward and addictive game mechanic that works perfectly for the touch screen. Cut the Rope is a great example of strong game design paired with excellent iOS integration – using OpenGL, Multi-Touch, and Accelerometer.
iPad Developer Showcase
A full-fledged DJ system, djay for iPad allows mixing of iPod music, live performances, and recorded mixes on a hyper-realistic turntable interface. It’s fully optimized for iOS 4 multitasking and background operation, and uses Core Audio for pristine sound quality and ultra-low latency, with support for popular audio formats like MP3 and AA. djay for iPad also uses AirPlay to stream mixes wirelessly to Apple TV, AirPort Express, or any AirPlay-supported speaker dock, AV receiver, or stereo system. It takes advantage of the high-performance, dual-core processor in iPad 2 for supreme quality and desktop-class features like Time-Stretching and higher precision audio analysis.
Osmos for iPad is a well designed, well executed “Asteroids meets lava lamp” game with elegant, physics-based gameplay, dreamlike visuals, and a minimalist, electronic soundtrack. It makes great use of OpenGL, and OpenAL, and Multi-Touch on iPad. Its Multi-Touch controls work very well with the physical nature of the game (mass propulsion, zooming, time-warping, etc.) while offering maximum simplicity and immersion. Osmos for iPad has garnered rave reviews and is available on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac.
This is Al Gore’s e-book app collaboration with the brilliant developers at Push Pop Press. They spent so much effort on his app they decided to create a self-publishing kit that’s coming soon.
Our Choice is an incredibly simple to use, entirely Multi-Touch gesture driven, interactive book app. It mixes narrative with photography, animations, video, and data-rich interactive graphics, and uses UIKit and Core Animation extensively to deliver a very tactile, compelling, and immediate user experience without any user interface. Written from scratch on iOS, Our Choice sets a high bar for simplicity and appeal for other apps in the same genre.
Mac Developer Showcase
Capo is a powerful, modern tool that helps you learn to perform your favorite music using the original recording. You can adjust the pitch of the song to learn it in a different key or tune it to your instrument, detect chords in realtime without pre-analysis, set up a loop to practice difficult passages and save your loops, markers, pitch, and speed settings so you can pick up where you left off. Capo offers a gorgeous visual design and fantastic integration with Mac OS X technologies including Cocoa, Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL, and Core Audio.
Our favorite, super cheap Photoshop alternative:
A beautifully designed, easy-to-use and powerful image editor for Mac OS X, Pixelmator uses all of the latest Mac OS X technologies, including Cocoa, 64-Bit, OpenGL, Core Image, iSight, Media Browser, Automator, Quartz Composer, and more. It integrates with Aperture, iPhoto, and PhotoBooth and offers web export options to Flickr, Facebook and Picasa. Pixelmator brings fun and ease of use back to this category of software.
Anomaly Warzone Earth is a great, new tower offense game for Mac with gorgeous graphics and great special effects through extensive use of OpenGL shaders and high-performance tuning. It offers great strategy and action and is currently one of the newest and most impressive games on the Mac App Store.
Student Developer Showcase
Grades 2 was developed by Jeremy Olson while he was a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A self taught iOS developer, he started coding in his sophomore year and did all of the design and development for Grades 2 – a GPA calculator for students with intuitive user interface and high quality graphics. It integrates nicely with iOS technologies including iAd, In-App Purchase, UIKit, Retina Display, and Multi-Touch. It includes due date notification for assignments, and a calendar and drop grade feature to track GPA progress for individual courses and overall GPA.
Stephen Varga built Pennant as the main project for his Master’s thesis at Parsons The New School for Design. This fantastic baseball history app creates a view of baseball history through data visualizations of key statistics from over 115,000 games from 1952-2010. Built entirely with Cocoa touch and OpenGL, Pennant is available exclusively for iPad.
These developers come from Stanford University, which also offers some great iTunes U podcasts, including courses on iOS and Cocoa development. I’ve been a fan of this outstanding news app since it was released nearly a year ago.
Pulse News is a beautiful news and social network browser that allows you to customize and add news from traditional sources, blogs and social networks, and view content offline. Developers Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta created Pulse News during a 10 week “launch pad” course at Stanford University.