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5 Apps to Download from the 2015 Apple Design Awards

Five apps that can improve efficiency, intelligence, and — if you trade smart — income.

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Following Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, the tech titan announced the most recent winners of its coveted Apple Design Awards (ADA), recognizing developers that have best utilized OS X, iOS and watchOS software over the past year. Former notable winners include Evernote (2013), Yahoo! News Digest (2014) and Monument Valley (2014).

Of this year’s select twelve, half were games. Though titles such as Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory, Mediocre’s Does Not Commute, and Hipster Whale’s hit Crossy Road are not as inherently useful as productivity-focused apps, such games provide an opportunity for creative use of Apple device functionality that can inform or indicate trends in app design at large; for instance, Shadowmatic heavily utilizes multi-touch controls, a feature that was perfected for iOS 9, the upcoming iOS version that made its lauded debut during yesterday’s WWDC kickoff.

Apple judges submissions based on a variety of criteria, including app intuition, engagement, reliability and, interestingly, the pathological effect upon a user. For ADA title holders, the honor is not simply a nod of congratulations, but one that translates into direct revenue with increased downloads. Here are five that can improve efficiency, intelligence, and — if you trade smart — income.

Robinhood

Robinhood is a zero-commission stock trading app (with a great intro video). It eliminates costs, allowing you to trade unfettered by fees (some, but not all stocks), and its layout, in mint green and white, uses intuitive swipe navigation and a clean, minimal type.

Buy Now: Free

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 began as an addition to your Apple Calendar; the new version replaces it altogether. It runs off the same clean design, but expands the calendar’s capabilities exponentially; the only drawback is the cost.

Buy Now: $39.99

Workflow

Workflow automates tasks you do repeatedly so that five steps become one. It syncs with the apps you already use, and you can build custom workflows. Layout is clean, but the design innovation shows in the ease of use.

Buy Now: $2.99

Pacemaker

Pacemaker makes music playlists, arranged by bpm and mixed together seamlessly (by overlaying tracks). Initially, it’s free, but there are add-ons that can be trialled and then purchased within the app. Syncs with iTunes or Spotify, and works on the Apple Watch.

Buy Now: Free

Elementary Minute

Elementary Minute is a fast-paced quiz game, whose beauty lies in its simplicity. Facts appear and you swipe up for true, down for false. Topics include Math, Geography and Famous People, and there are two game modes (Classic and Rush). App works with both iOS and Watch.

Buy Now: $0.99

All 2015 Apple Award Winners: Affinity Designer | Fantastical 2 | Metamorphabet | Pacemaker | Vainglory | Does Not Commute | Workflow | Crossy Road | Robinhood | Shadowmatic | Jump-O | Elementary Minute

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