updated 05:55 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
Apps must be in App Store by May 1
Among the other announcements related to the 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple has also opened nominations for the annual Apple Design Awards for Mac and iOS applications. In addition to apps that are nominated by developers themselves, Apple may opt to nominate an app itself if the company believes the app upholds the best examples of design, technology and innovation. Developers do not have to be present in order to win.
To be considered, the application must be in either the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store by no later than May 1st. Multiple nominations play no role in whether or not an app will be judged a winner, as Apple itself does the judging. Developers are free to suggest apps for consideration other than their own, and winners are not notified in advance and thus do not receive free admission to the WWDC.
The criteria for the awards focus on apps that are highly engaging, intuitive, easy to use and "compelling," according to Apple's guidelines. The company also looks for apps that take advantage of features in the latest OS and hardware releases, or with their own technologies that offer a lot of functionality and performance as well as system integration.
Of course, Apple also prizes applications that reinvent a traditional methodology or offer a lot of inspiration and creativity for users. Last year, Apple included some student developer projects in its awards, and is expected to do so again this year.
As an example, last year's winners included a variety of apps for Mac and iOS, including bitmap editor Pixelmator and musician's aid Capo. For iPad, winners included music-mixing program djay and Al Gore's interactive book Our Choice. Among iPhone apps, winners included groundbreaking game Infinity Blade and golfing aid Golfscape GPS Rangefinder.
Winners receive a trophy, some Apple gear and other prizes, and bragging rights. This year's winners will be announced at the WWDC conference, June 11-15th in San Francisco.