Apple has announced its App Store picks of the year and, whereas usually there is a focus on creativity, this year’s reflect the impact of COVID-19.
Apple has announced its App Store picks of the year, putting apps that might have previously gone unrecognized under the spotlight. The impact of the pandemic is certainly reflected through many of the choices. There is a general theme running through Apple’s picks of apps that make life easier, healthier, and more connected.
The App Store’s landscape is constantly evolving, and Apple usually puts an eclectic array of apps on the map every year emphasizing its variety and the year’s trends. However, the App Store choices usually followed a familiar trend of creativity that has remained pretty consistent for the past five years. That isn’t the case this year, with the current state of the world doing more than just contributing to the App Store’s massive revenue.
According to Apple, the basis for picking the App Store’s Best of 2020 winners revolved around their quality, creativity, innovation, effectiveness, and “positive cultural impact.” Among the 15 winners are video-conferencing app Zoom, fitness routine app Wakeout!, streaming service Disney+, personal health app Endel, and daily planner Fantastical. Apple Fellow Phil Schiller explains that the chosen apps were “outstanding examples” of innovation with an impact that was “meaningful to so many of us.” Other chosen apps include games such as Genshin Impact, Disco Elysium, and Legends of Runeterra, among others. The winners will be receiving the first-ever physical App Store icon trophy made out of recycled aluminum, with their name etched onto its back.
How 2020 Changed The App Store’s Five-Year Landscape
While Apple is looking to encourage the growth of small, indie developers like the ones mentioned, that had little to do with influencing this year’s app trends. The disarray that the pandemic has wreaked on the everyday lives of people led to the heavy emphasis on personal health and routine-planning apps like Wakeout!, Endel, and Fantastical. Furthermore, stay-at-home orders meant people turned to streaming services and games for entertainment, while relying on video-conferencing apps like Zoom for work, learning, and staying in touch.
The dependence on these apps reflects the importance of communication and personal health during a time when isolation has been encouraged. The choices certainly highlight a shift in focus from photo-editing apps and content creation to self-care, escapism, and productivity. In the past five years, Apple has mostly celebrated apps that inspired creativity, such as Prisma and Sketchbook Motion in 2016, Affinity Photo in 2017, Pixelmator Pro and Procreate Pocket in 2018, and Spectre Camera and Flow in 2019. Only time will tell whether App Store trends will revert to their pre-pandemic states or whether the impact of the pandemic will result in a more permanent change.
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