In only the back half of 2023, Apple released new iPhones, Apple Watches, new operating systems, updated software for beloved accessories, and more.
Despite a more muted earnings report in September (revenue was down 0.72% year-over-year, though it came in 0.15% above expectations), the stock continues to ride something of a high. It’s up over 50% year-to-date. And this is before its important holiday season, which often sees sales escalate as people snap up everything from iPhones, AirPods, watches, and other accessories for their loved ones or themselves.
In the spirit of giving, Apple also recently released its list of top apps for the 2023 year – a welcome boost of confidence and PR for the finalists.
It chose from a list of 40 finalists and whittled the final tally down to just nine – still an impressive number, when you account for the over one million that can be found on Apple’s app store.
Apple unveils top apps of 2023
One of the most notable aspects of Apple’s list of contenders is that it includes many third-party apps.
While it has been undergoing years of legal scrutiny over its App Store rules and payment system, it’s still one of the most widely-used app stores and the place to be if you want your app to gain traction. As of October, there were 3.7 million apps on the Google Play Store (its most direct competitor), and nearly 5 million on the Apple App Store.
Apple Store icon displayed on a phone screen is seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on January 29, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Here are the top apps of 2023, according to Apple:
Best iPhone app: AllTrailsBest iPad App: Prêt-à-MakeupBest Mac App: PhotomatorBest Apple TV App: MUBIBest Apple Watch App: SmartGymBest iPhone Game: Honkai: Star RailBest iPad Game: Lost in PlayBest Mac Game: Lies of PBest Apple Arcade Game: Hello Kitty Island Adventure
Apple also released a list of five top Cultural Impact Winners, which are awarded based on their social impact and what they do to push society forward.
Cultural Impact Winner: Pok PokCultural Impact Winner: ProloquoCultural Impact Winner: Too Good To GoCultural Impact Winner: UnpackingCultural Impact Winner: Finding Hannah
Apple also named its Trend of the Year, which reflects on some of the biggest markers of progress and innovation in the past 12 months. Naturally, 2023’s Trend of the Year was generative artificial intelligence (or gen AI).
“Apps are a reflection of culture, and in 2023, generative AI captured users’ collective imagination with its evolution unfolding in real time,” Apple said. “Apps started integrating AI throughout the year in a variety of ways.”
Apple mentioned several AI-enabled apps by name, including:
“The field of artificial intelligence has been with us for decades (the term was coined over 60 years ago), but never before have we been able to interact with AI as naturally. Generative AI made apps more helpful—but more importantly, it made that helpfulness iterative, letting us refine the answers, images, and expertise apps provided,” Apple wrote.
“This is a seismic shift, driven in part by innovations in large-language models that generate natural language, and diffusion models that generate images — all starting from a simple prompt.”