2014 was a prolific year for the App Store with over 500,000 new apps over the last calendar year. Now, it’s time to take a look back at all of the apps released in 2014, and pick the best ones. We have broken down the top apps into individual categories as we lead up to the top 10 apps of the year overall. Our rankings are based on a three person panel focusing on iOS uniqueness, overall enjoyment, and complete experience. Now, we present the top 10 apps of 2013 overall with our pick for App of the Year.
App Of The Year:
1.) Hyperlapse (Free, Universal) [Review]: Time lapse from the makers of Instagram. The process couldn’t be simpler, but that simplicity doesn’t detract from the professional quality that is provided. The time lapse videos look absolutely amazing, and that’s mainly because of the auto stabilization. Rather than requiring a tripod, or extremely steady hand, the app can account for walking, running, jumping, driving, flying, and any type of motion. The resulting videos are silky smooth despite the motion, and it allows for all new potential time lapse creations. No longer are you limited to a fixed position, and instead can show distances, and changing angles, while providing the speed of time lapse. There’s so much creative potential, and the results look absolutely gorgeous to get your mind thinking about what else you can do with Hyperlapse.
2.) Workflow ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: The developers of Workflow have taken full advantage of iOS 8 to truly deliver automation on iOS. There are over 100 actions included to let your iOS device perform tasks with just a couple of taps. You can set-up workflows to get directions to an upcoming meeting, send a message of your ETA to home, tweet what you’re listening to, post a full note to Evernote, and so much more. There’s a gallery of pre-made actions to get you up, and running with some valuable autonomous tasks. That’s just scratching the surface, as you can create your own with a whole arsenal of potential actions to customize into your iOS workflow.
3.) Pixelmator ($9.99, iPad) [Review]: The Mac app has been built from the ground up for iPad to emphasize a touch interface, while at the same time delivering an extensive feature set. You can edit photos, compose collages, create images from scratch, and fully interact with photos on a professional level all with just your fingertips. One of the best parts of the Pixelmator on the iPad is the interface with most functions available via a drop down bar at the top of the screen. While it doesn’t fully replace desktop photo editing, it’s the closest yet on iPad, while offering a smooth touch interface that is a joy to interact with.
4.) Yahoo News Digest (Free, Universal) [Review]: An outstanding app to provide daily news, both in the morning, and evening. The best part of the app is that it focuses on delivering a specific set of articles, rather than all the news of the day, and the articles have been condensed into finely crafted summaries. The article give you all you could want, and in addition there are connections to related images, videos, infographs, maps, Wikipedia articles, tweets, and sources. It’s a great app to check out a couple of times a day to keep you on top of the news presented in a beautifully designed package.
5.) Timeful (Free, iPhone) [Review]: The app combines your calendars, and to-dos into one list to help you easily manage your time. Time is limited, and Timeful is designed to help you take full advantage of the time you have to spend it wisely based on any activities you have, whether it’s work, fun, or personal. The app connects with all of the calendars already on your device, to get you up and running in an instant. The biggest feature of Timeful is that it can provide recommendations for when to schedule certain events, based on algorithms that learn from your daily routine. The more you use the app, the more intelligent it becomes to slot different things in to your busy day.
6.) Molecules by Theodore Gray ($13.99, Universal) [Review]: Whether you’re a Chemistry major, or bored by the mere mention of the word, you can enjoy what’s included in Molecules by Theodore Gray. The first thing you notice is how inviting the set-up is to get readers engaged in the material. There’s a friendly writing style with most pages of text accented by interactive items whether it’s a powder on a plate, everyday object, or chemical reaction. There are photos, and videos throughout, which play right in line with the text to spin around 3D renderings of objects while reading why that multimedia is included. Molecules by Theodore Gray isn’s just a straight textbook fashioned into app form, and instead is more of an explanatory tour of molecules that highlights what the author believes is interesting. That shift in focus engages the reader on a new level as it brings molecules to life beyond just chemical compositions, formulas, and electron disposition.
7.) AirPano Travel Book ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: An app that lets you travel to some of the world’s most amazing locations all from the comfort of your iPad. The app doesn’t simply provide still frames, or even videos, but rather 360 degree panoramas for complete immersion. Now, it’s not the same as actually being in the presence of these wonders, but it’s also not thousands of dollars, and instead just $3. The app begins with a digital representation of a 3D pop-up book, with each page depicting the next collections. Each scene comes with the complete spherical 360° photo panoramas that cover every inch of the scene. The panoramas are absolutely extraordinary in terms of the perspective provided, and the amount of detail included. This is an app to truly take advantage of the iPad retina display to get you as close as possible to these places without actually being there.
8.) Listen (Free, iPhone) [Review]: It just may be the best iPhone music player. What really makes Listen stand-out is a gesture driven interface that truly lets you control every part of the app with a specific touch action. It’s all designed for such a seamless experience that lets you perform basic music controls without even looking at the screen. There’s also an iOS 7 inspired design with translucent backgrounds throughout, infused with the colors of your albums. Listen includes a slick integration with your entire music library with a circle layout of every playlist, album, and song your have on your device.
9.) Star Walk 2 ($2.99, Universal) [Review]: A sequel, which provides the same star gazing style, but redesigned in every way. The most noticeable changes revolve around the graphic design to depict the sky complete with high resolution artwork, 3D low poly constellations, and atmospheric effects. Not only is there a new look, but there’s a new interface as well which is updated to today’s standards to emphasize minimalism. The entire screen is filled with a depiction of the sky unless you call up one of the menus to dive into the deep information of the stars. The neatest feature is the location tracking, and gyroscope integration to precisely locate your device, and show the exact sky that you’re looking at as you spin around 360 degrees.
10.) Weather or Not ($2.99, iPhone) [Review]: A weather app that offers a unique take on what a weather app can be. Rather than just presenting you stats, forecasts, and radars, Weather or Not focuses on connecting weather information to your day. You mainly care about the weather in how it impacts your day whether it’s your wardrobe, events, or appointments. Weather or Not integrates your calendar right into the app, so you can see how the weather ties into what you have upcoming. Weather or Not offers a whole new way to look at the weather, as the app gives you the weather when you want it, based on what you’re doing, and where you’re going. The app revolves around a line graph based interface that presents a seven day hourly forecast, so you can see how temperatures change every minute over the next week. Not only do you get the temperature, but there’s a second line graph that shows the change in precipitation chance as time progresses.
*In case you missed any of our top apps for each individual category, we have listed them all below.