Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/10/apple_design_awards_2009/

iPhone reigns at Apple design awards

So much for widgets

By Rik Myslewski

Posted in Mobile, 10th June 2009 19:49 GMT

WWDC The iPhone's ascent as a full-fledged development environment was in evidence Tuesday night when the 2009 Apple Design Awards were announced at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Since they were instituted in 1997 as the Human Interface Design Excellence Awards - and nicknamed the Heidi's - the Apple Design Awards have been an annual exercise and a good way to gauge the focus of the Apple Developer community. In 2007, for example, iPhone apps were still a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye - and a subway-scheduling dashboard widget named The BART Widget was among the winners.

Does anyone code widgets anymore? Thought not.

Last year, awards were handed out to two iPhone web apps created using Apple's original - and highly restrictive - iPhone web-centric development scheme. At the same event, however, iPhone Developer Showcase awards were also bestowed on a handful of full-fledged but unreleased iPhone apps - unreleased because the 2008 awards event was held in June and the iTunes App Store didn't launch until July.

This year the success of the iPhone Developer Program was celebrated - there were, for example, more iPhone awards than Mac OS X awards: six to five. The reason for the award inflation is simple: last year a mere 1,700 iPhone web apps existed. This year there are more than 50,000 apps in the iTunes apps store. For the iPhone, it's been a hell of a year - and the latest Apple Design Awards event put an exclamation mark after that inarguable statement.

In past years, awards were handed out in specific categories - best game, best developer tool, best scientific computing solution, and the like. This year, that scheme was dropped, and the winners were simply grouped into "showcases," with the exception of the student winners and one as-yet-unreleased iPhone app.

iPhone awards

iPhone Developer Showcase:

Best iPhone Student App:

Best iPhone OS 3.0 Beta App:

Mac OS X awards

Mac OS X Leopard Developer Showcase:

Best Mac OS X Student Product:

That's this year's crop of Apple Design Award winners. Expect next year's Apple judges to put the spotlight on developers who exploit the capabilities of the iPhone 3G S and iPhone Software 3.0, plus new technologies in Mac OS X Snow Leopard such as Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL.

Or, it's just possible that a new category of awards will open up, focused on software written for the long-rumored Apple tablet/netbook/media-pad/ebook/whatever. ®