There are some staple apps that always linger on the top charts in Apple's App Store, with freebies like YouTube and Facebook tending to take the top spots. However, Apple's best of the year list highlights the year's hottest trends — not just the expected list of our favorite apps.
The year's best apps number at just four, with an app and a game for both iPhone and iPad. Here are the best iOS apps of 2017:
- Calm, a meditation and sleep app that regularly serves up fresh mediation routines, classes, and sleep stories. This free app can help you reduce stress and get a better night's sleep, but unlocking all of its features will cost $12.99/month or $59.99/year.
- Spitter Critters, an imaginative iPhone game where you swipe across the screen to rearrange the game world and direct its inhabitants to their spaceship. It costs $2.99, with no ads or in-app purchases so you can just buy and play.
- Affinity Photo, a full-fledged photo editor for your iPad (though you'll need a newer iPad to run it). It will set you back $14.99, but that's a bargain for a quality image editing app.
- The Witness, an iPad game that strands you on an island filled with puzzles to solve — which will hopefully provide clues that will lead you home again. It costs $9.99, but with over 500 puzzles, that's a steal for anyone who loves puzzles.
Beyond this year's top apps, Apple is looking back at the App Store's top trends of 2017. Apple saw four major trends in this year's apps:
- Augmented reality apps that change the world around us, from the Pokémon GO gaming craze that puts Pokémon right in front of you to the more practical IKEA Place that lets you rearrange your furniture without moving a muscle.
- Competitive gaming, which has been common on PCs and consoles, is making a splash on mobile now. Your iPad and iPhone can now play PC gaming hits like Hearthstone and FIFA, as well as competitive mobile-only games like Clash Royale.
- Health and mindfulness apps of all kinds, from turning fitness into a game with Wokamon (which lets you raise a virtual pet based on how many steps you take) to providing customized workouts anywhere with Fitbit Coach.
- Storytelling apps that take reading beyond the printed word. You can read episodic stories formatted as text messages with Cliffhanger or enjoy illustrated choose-your-own-adventure style books with Choices.
If you're looking to load up a new iPhone or iPad, check out the full list of year's top apps and trends, because you'll find plenty of inspiration.
[Image credit: Apple]