The Highlight — Editor’s Choice of 2013
The last feature in ‘The Highlight‘ series here on Beautiful Pixels is our compilation for the Editor’s Choice of apps from 2013. Similar to last year, we’ve picked what we think are the best of the bests on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android & Games. This year, we’ve also included some of the best app Promo Videos that caught our eye. We hope you like them.
There are a boatload of really good looking todo apps on the App Store. There are great options whether you’re looking for something simple or a full blown GTD app. Applause Code, in collaboration with Ben Brooks, released Begin this year for devices running iOS 7 and it is brilliant. It looks absolutely amazing and best of all, it is an app so simple and elegant that it appeals to almost everyone. Begin simplifies your todo list and does a fantastic job at it. It even has lovely themes and font options available. Begin is available for Free on the App Store with a few extensions available as in app purchases.
Radium for Mac and iPhone really managed to impress the hell out of us. The iPhone app already looked gorgeous on iOS 6 and it recently was updated with a completely new and awesome UI for iOS 7. Radium is an internet radio app that looks as good as it sounds. Radium for iOS 7 deserves to be on your homescreen with its excellent icon and beautiful looks. It even lets you subscribe to premium radio stations and scrobbles to Last.fm. It is a radio app done right. Radium is available for Free on the App Store.
It feels like we keep writing about Fantastical over and over again and right so. The app is that damn good. Fantastical 2 for iPhone is the only calendar app you need. It is great for reminders and it is the best app to keep track of birthdays with because it lets you wish people from within the app. Flexibits create some of the best software you can use on your iOS devices or Mac. Fantastical 2 blew everyone away and we can’t wait to see what they do on the iPad next. Fantastical 2 is available on the App Store for $1.99 right now before the price goes up to $4.99.
When we first came across the official FIFA app for iPhone and iPad, we were absolutely awestruck to see how much work had gone into its detailed design. The app uses some innovative transitions, stunning images and beautiful glyphs to portray different in-app sections. As we noted in our review, the 'Explore FIFA' section of the app is just breathtaking. This menu features various sections each with a nice image and a delightful mini game, all for showcasing how FIFA uses the power of Football (Soccer) to build a better future. FIFA is definitely one of the most gorgeous designs of 2013 and is among our favourites of this year. FIFA is available Free on the App Store.
VSCO Cam is a phenomenal camera app for iPhone. It comes with some incredible filters and tools to edit photos on your phone and VSCO sports a simplified UI that makes all this possible. If you have an iPhone (or Android for that matter), there's no reason why you shouldn't already have this app. VSCO Cam is Free on the App Store and has IAP for different filter packages that you can download.
There are no two ways about it. Editorial by omz-software is the best and most powerful text editor on the iPad. It makes anything on other platforms look like a joke. It has workflows that help you do complicated things in a few taps and has a rock solid sync with Dropbox and even supports Dropbox version browsing. Editorial looked great on iOS 6 and the iOS 7 update is coming soon. Federico Viticci has an amazing guide on what Editorial can do and he even released an iBook called “Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial”. Editorial is available on the App Store for iPad for just $4.99.
The iPad makes a great companion for chefs in the kitchen. The amount of recipe and cooking apps on the App Store is mind blowing. Paprika is a complete suite of apps available for iOS, OS X, and Android that take you from recipe to grocery store to a meal. Paprika on for iPad and iPhone was recently updated and the iPad app in particular is the best in class right now. The interface retains all the character it had in earlier versions and the workflow it has shames all the other apps in the category. It has an in app browser that has an amazing save recipe tool and you can add the ingredients to your grocery shopping list with a single tap. Paprika even has a meal planner calendar. Paprika for iPad is available on the App Store for $4.99.
Disney Animated is, by far, the best app we've experienced on an iPad. The devs have done an incredible job in crafting and polishing it and it truly shines as you use it. Not only is the app great, it comes with some excellent content that you can browse in the app. The latest update also added content from Brave. If there's one app we'd recommend for any iPad owner, it's this one. Disney Animated is $9.99 on the App Store.
TRVL is another beautiful app that shines on the iPad. TRVL brings you photo documentaries from some incredible travel destinations on this planet and is a great insight into these places. TRVL is a great way to enjoy stunning photographs as you sit back and relax. TRVL is Free on the App Store.
Yahoo Weather for iPad is one of the many available weather apps for iPad. But Yahoo Weather sets itself apart from the rest with the right blend of some stunning photographs from the locations you choose and some subtle animations when you scroll to view the additional info. Both the iPhone and iPad version of this Universal app are largely the same, but the app really excels on the iPad due to the brilliant use of stunning photographs. Yahoo Weather is available Free on the App Store.
There have been several text-editors and long-form writing tools released for the Mac in the last few years, but none has come closer to impressing us as much as Ulysses III did. From the creators of Daedalus Touch for iOS, Ulysses III is an extensive & indispensable writing tool. It supports Sync over iCloud, Local Storage (so Dropbox indirectly) and even shows your Daedalus Touch files all via a single-window workflow. The Markdown implementation in Ulysses III is also kickass. You can buy it from the Mac App Store for just $44.99.
We've praised ReadKit before on Beautiful Pixels and had to mention it in our Editor's Choice for 2013, especially after its awesome update earlier this year. The app has nifty features such as smart folders and provides a great overall reading experience with its beautiful themes and personalised reading options. ReadKit has become our go-to RSS reader and is still an elegant read later client for Mac. The app is currently on sale for $2.99 on the Mac App Store.
1Password for Mac
This shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. AgileBits have done a stellar job with 1Password for Mac. Version 4.0 brings all the goodness from 1Password for iOS and presents it in a revamped User Interface packaged with a host of new features. 1Password is one of the first apps we recommend to any Mac user and this easily deserves it. If you haven’t already taken the dive, you can do so right here.
Ember for Mac
We already included Ember for Mac in our compilation for Design Tools of 2013, but it’s also one of the best Mac apps released this year. Realmac Software resurrected LittleSnapper for Mac and it’s a fantastic application to manage your images. It also has a nifty feature to auto-fetch new images from any given RSS feed and makes organizing and tagging your images easy. Ember for Mac is available for $49.99 on the Mac App Store.
DaisyDisk’s version 3 was a lovely update to an already great app for Mac. It gives you a great overview of how space is utilized on your Mac’s HDD and presents a colorful and easy to read snapshot for your perusal. If you’re wondering why your HDD gets filled up so quickly, DaisyDisk will help you right away. For $9.99 on the Mac App Store, it’s an important tool for every Mac user.
Press is to Android, what Reeder is to iOS. Just a beautifully simple, no frills RSS reader. 2013 was the year Android really matured. The OS itself is now more beautiful than chunky. And luckily, the apps have started to follow suit. Press is fast and looks good on any device, be it a mid range smartphone or a 7 inch tablet. You should check out Press if you haven’t already, it will improve your RSS experience by a considerable margin. Press is available on Google Play for just $2.99.
Timely was also released around the same time the beautification of Android began. What sets Timely apart is that it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Peel off the Timely layers and what you’ll get is the stock Android Clock app. What Timely does bring to table is more of an evolution. It focused on the usability and the beauty of the app. The swipe to set alarm feature is intuitive and works really fast. Oh, and the mash of vibrant colours make Timely drop dead gorgeous. Timely is available for Free on Google Play.
Flyne was a surprise hit from Falcon Pro creator Joaquim Verges. If you were one of the lucky users to get access to Falcon Pro during it’s short and beloved life, you will notice the same design language in Flyne, especially the night mode. Flyne is an Offline Reader. It has a set of categories and sources from which it curates the best content and presents it to you in a minimal interface. For a small fee you can also connect your Feedly account to import your RSS feeds and Twitter account to view the links shared by people you follow. Flyne itself is available for Free on Google Play.
VSCO Cam, one of the most popular apps on iOS made it to Android this year. When released, it was called a lot of names – Instagram for people who don’t like Instagram, The Anti-Instagram. Just like any other Photography app it was instantly compared to Instagram. VSCO gives you couple of presets (filters) and some tools to edit your image and lets you share it to every social network out there. Over time, VSCO Cam has grown into a small community of passionate mobile photographers as opposed to a people who want to share what they had for breakfast this morning. VSCO Cam is available for Free from Google Play.
Tearaway by MediaMolecule is a console seller. It is available only for the PlayStation Vita and it is a game that will leave you wanting more long after you finish playing it. The art style is phenomenal and the music puts most big budget movies to shame. You play as Iota or Atoi in a paper craft world delivering a message and all the sensors of the Vita are made full of including taking pictures of you while you play the game because you are an important aspect of the story. If you own a Vita, you need to get this game right now. If you don’t, procure one just for this. It is well worth it.
Vlambeer release some of the most polished and fun games you will ever play. They released Ridiculous Fishing earlier this year and it won an Apple Design Award. It literally oozes with character and shows you how perfect a mobile game can be. Backed with a insanely good soundtrack, Ridiculous Fishing for iOS and Android is the kind of game we need to see more of in 2014. Ridiculous Fishing is available on the App Store and Google Play for $2.99.
Simogo have been known to push the envelope with games but this is on a whole other level. Device 6 is a surreal thriller interactive novel where you solve puzzles and the words are the narrator. As you move ahead, the words direct you quite literally and have you going back to previous images for solving puzzles. It is something that showcases what iOS devices are capable of with interactive story telling. You play as Anna who just wakes up on an island with two identical castles and try and solve mysteries to find out what happened to you. Device 6 is how fantasy novels should be remade for touch screens. Device 6 is available on the App Store as a universal game for $3.99.
Year Walk by Simogo is the second game by them in our list and it is basically a work of art that is also a game. It even has some black metal themes throughout. Year Walk blurs the 2 and 3 dimensional world and you meet several different creatures while solving puzzles. There’s also a Year Walk companion app available with more information about the creatures you meet. Simogo games have sky high production values and Year Walk is no exception to this rule. Year Walk is available on the App Store for $3.99 and the companion app is available for free.
Hatch is a loveable virtual pet for your iPhone by Impending and Realmac Software. It has art by David Lanham and has been designed really well. It has been updated a few times since launch to add more mechanics to the way you play with your pet Fugu. You interact and feed your pet to earn its love and coins that you can use to buy rugs and decorations for the environment. Hatch is a cute addition to your homescreen and barring a few repetitive mechanics, Hatch is really great. Hatch is available on the App Store for $1.99.
And that concludes The Highlight. It’s been a fantastic week for us here at Beautiful Pixels and it was great fun putting together our best of the bests compilation for our readers. As always, we’re open to feedback from you. We look forward to hearing your comments and feedback about our new feature soon.
This was also our last post of 2013. We’re going on a tiny vacation for the next few days and will back in the new year, ready to present you with the best beautiful pixels across all platforms. Stay tuned!
— Team BP.