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What just happened? Apple has announced the winners of its annual App Store Awards, highlighting more than a dozen apps and games that it says inspired users to expand their imaginations and engage with friends, family and loved ones more deeply this year.
iPhone App of the Year honors go to BeReal, the French social media app that challenges users to capture and share a photo from their front and rear camera simultaneously. The catch is that you only have a two-minute window to snap your shot, and you don't know when that window will open.
Apple's selection for iPad App of the Year is GoodNotes 5, a note-taking and PDF markup app that allows users to create hand-written notes and organize them into virtual folders and notebooks. It also plays nicely with Apple Pencil, Apple's wireless stylus for the iPad.
MacFamilyTree 10 took home the award for Mac App of the Year. The genealogy program allows users to construct family trees and explore them in a variety of ways. There's even an option to generate and publish HTML web pages to share with others online.
The top Apple Watch app of the year is Gentler Streak, an exercise and fitness tracker that stimulates a self-compassionate approach to working out by making rest and active recovery part of the ongoing "streak."
The Apple TV App of the Year award went to ViX, a Spanish-language over-the-top streaming service from TelevisaUnivision. The app debuted as PrendeTV in March 2021 but was later expanded and rebranded to ViX earlier this year.
On the gaming front, Apex Legends Mobile earned iPhone Game of the Year honors while Moncage sewed up the iPad Game of the Year award. The former is a battle royale shooter set within the Apex Legends universe and the latter is an optical illusions puzzle game that takes place inside a mysterious cube.
Apple's pick for Mac Game of the Year is Inscryption, a card-based roguelike game from the creator of The Hex and Pony Island. According to its description, it blends escape-room style puzzles, deckbuilding roguelike elements and psychological horror into a "blood-laced smoothie."
El Hijo, a non-violent stealth game in which you rely on the playfulness of a young child to progress, was recognized as the Apple TV Game of the Year while farming sim Wylde Flowers from Studio Drydock Pty Ltd. secured top honors in the Apple Arcade category.
Apple said its App Store editorial team selected this year's winners, which represent a diverse community of developers from around the globe whose exceptional experiences deliver a profound cultural impact.