BEST OF 2017
Trends of the year
Welcome to the App Store Best of 2017, our editors' celebration of the most interesting and important apps, games and trends in app culture – and of the developers behind them.
This year, we identified four breakout trends that we're excited to share with you.
1. Finding a new reality
This year, millions of iPhone and iPad users around the world got access to the groundbreaking technology known as AR (Augmented Reality).
AR has the potential to fundamentally change how we interact with the world around us by blending digitally rendered objects with reality. The screen of your iOS device becomes a window of sorts into the AR world, where you interact with virtual objects in ways never before possible.
More importantly, the tech doesn’t require special glasses or any other accessories.
Developers have already created hundreds of apps and games, that really expand your imagination make you feel as if another dimension is added!
On the more functional side, there’s MeasureKit, which lets you measure anything you want, from the length and width of your desk to your colleague's height. Night Sky, on the other hand, is an amazing planetarium that lets you understand the universe with the great help AR technology.
The video-editing app Filmr plays a more whimsical role. Use it to insert animated dwarfs, unicorns, and aliens into the videos you've taken. Follow Me Dragon recreates the familiar concept of a virtual pet in your device which in turn creates a very personal and playful experience.
2. Rise of hyper-casual games
During 2017 we saw the mighty rise of an amazingly entertaining genre of games that focus —with great passion and intelligence— on delivering fun and simple experiences. In many ways, they remind us of the first generations of video games that conquered millions of fans, though not precisely because of their aesthetic. It’s more about the power of a great idea, straightforward gameplay and clear goals.
Hyper-Casual Games seem to blend the principles of the past with the technological advances of the present to cater to today’s audience. And the results are extraordinarily entertaining games that users in many parts of the world are deeply in love with.
Though this huge wave has been forming itself for a while now, it was in 2017 when it became clear that we weren’t witnessing random successes, but rather a real trend in the App Store with titles like Tap Titans 2, Bowmasters and Flippy Knife at the forefront.
In retrospective, it seems clear why these games acquired legions of fans in places like Latin America, South Africa, Turkey, and so many more. Fun is open to practically anyone, and is generally attainable by intuitive tapping and swiping. At no point, players feel intimidated; the level of dedication in terms of time and concentration is not at all demanding. And it seems as though this is part of the secret.
Because isn’t time such a limited asset? And isn’t our need for fun constant in our lives?
Hyper-Casual Games let us get our hourly or daily fix of fun so easily. You simply check in, play small sessions and get the surge of excitement right when you need it: on the way to work, between texts and homework, the kids and football… And for as long as you can. Jump in and out as much as you want.
Without doubt we’ll keep seeing more and more of these games, many of them reaching the highest positions in our charts. Developers have definitely identified the opportunity, and as a consequence, we’re seeing a wider diversity and deeper creativity flowing in from the community. And, of course, there’s the enormous appetite of you, dear players, who seem to have found Hyper-Casual Games a dream come true:
Feel-good-games, no strings attached.
Never before have we seen such a surge in apps focused specifically on mindfulness, and stress reduction.
The popular meditation app Headspace introduced major updates this year that expanded on topics such as mindfulness for children and better sleep. The creators of the new app Lake: Artists’ Coloring Books tackled de-stressing a bit more actively, offering an ever-changing selection of drawings that you can color in—which is perhaps the most accessible meditation of all. Bloom, another coloring app, will let you sit back and feel creative with its unique designs with a daily challenge, while Aura provides daily 3 minute guided meditation sessions.
Several apps leveraged the latest research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and put a host of tools at your fingertips. Although the apps are not a substitute for professional treatment, they do put a host of tools at your fingertips.
4. Facial transformations
The online world has evolved far beyond its early days. Case in point: the humble profile picture. The once plain portraits have turned into creative digital expressions. It's all thanks to these photo-editing apps like FaceApp or Photo Lab that display incredibly realistic effects on the fly for your selfies.