2012 Apple iPhone, iPad & Mac Design Awards

Flashy games, interactive books, music programs, serious design tools among big winners announced at Apple WWDC

Apple SVP Phil Schiller stated at the company’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference that its new MacBook Pro with Retina display is “the most beautiful computer we have ever made.” But Apple has inspired lots of other beautiful creations as well by developers building software for its Mac, iPhone and iPad. Here are the ones Apple honored at WWDC with its annual Design Awards.

RELATED: 20 best iPhone/iPad games of 2012 so far

Jetpack Joyride

Developer: Halfbrick Studios 

Category: iPhone Developer Showcase

Suit up with cool jetpacks as Barry Steakfries in this iOS-only Arcade game. It was recognized because it “uses iOS graphics and audio frameworks extensively to enable really fun graphics, it's optimized for Retina Display on iPad and iPhone, has a great soundtrack, delivers outstanding responsiveness and performance, and integrates with Game Center, In-App Purchase, Facebook and Twitter.”

Where's My Water

Developer: Disney 

Category: iPhone Developer Showcase

Don’t let the fact that this is an iOS-only physics-based puzzle game ruin the fun of helping Swampy the Alligator take a shower. The judges write: “This app was selected as an Apple Design Award winner because it's attractive and clever, has lots of personality with its likable character, has a consistent narrative, vibrant graphics, intuitive controls, simple game mechanics, and a great soundtrack.”

National Parks by National Geographic

Developer: National Geographic Society 

Category: iPhone Developer Showcase

A good way to explore the U.S. National Parks without all the touchy-feely TSA action at the airports, but also features GPS integration to help with trip planning for those of you who do plan actual visits. The Apple-only app (Apple seems to like that aspect of these award winners…) was recognized for its “high production quality, subtle and compelling animations and transitions, stunning photo galleries, tips about where and how photos were taken, and rare vintage images from the National Geographic Archive.”

Bobo Explores Light

Developer: Game Collage

Category: iPad Developer Showcase

Learn about the basic scientific concepts of light in this immersive educational app developed by a team of two. It won “for being totally state-of-the-art and breaking the mold for digital textbooks.”

DM1–The Drum Machine

Developer: Fingerlab

Category: iPad Developer Showcase

A good way to turn your iPad into a drum set without beating it with drum sticks. The Retina Display-optimzed app won “for its tight integration with iOS audio frameworks, high performance, rich feature set paired with fine-tuned interface design, and gorgeous hyper-realistic visual design.”

Paper by FiftyThree

Developer: FiftyThree 

Category: iPad Developer Showcase

An app for the artist or designer in all of us, Paper by FiftyThree converts your ideas (maybe for the next great iPad app?) into beautiful sketches, diagrams and illustrations. Paper by FiftyThree has been used to create millions of pages and share them on madewithpaper.fiftythree.com.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Ultimate Edition

Developer: Feral Interactive

Category: Mac Developer Showcase

This cyberpunk-themed role-playing game gives you the chance to save humanity in the year 2027 (Good to know humanity will still be around then!). The OS X game was selected “because of its compelling game play, fantastic graphics, and enormous environments that immerse the player in a fantastic sci-fi world.”


Developer: Playdead ApS 

Category: Mac Developer Showcase

Is it a puzzle/adventure game? Or is it art? It’s both according to the judges, who compliment the program “for its minimal UI, unique and compelling graphics, strong narrative, fluid movements, simple controls, and strong integration with OS X's graphics and audio technologies.”


Developer: Bohemian Coding

Category: Mac Developer Showcase

No gaming here. This is a professional vector graphics app optimized for icon, web, and interface design. It was picked because of its “great integration with OS X and powerful design capabilities including non-destructive boolean operations on curves and objects.”

daWindci Reality Twist GmbH, Mimimi Productions

Developer: Mediadesign Highschool of Applied Sciences, Germany 

Category: Student Developer Showcase

This 3D touch-based puzzle game can be addictive, as your touch gestures paint wind, hurricanes and lightning, which impact the flight of a hot air balloon. It boasts original music to boot.

Little Star

Developer: BiBoBox Studio/Dalian Nationalities University, China 

Category: Student Developer Showcase

A 30-page interactive children's book available for the iPad in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. It tells the story of five friends on their journey to catch stars, but is interactive and includes game play. So not a book to fall asleep with in bed.