The Apps of the Year 2013

the apps of the year 2013 on Design Work Life
There are over 1,000,000 apps in the iTunes store. Imagine trying to search through them all to find the ones we think could be called ‘tops’ in the past year. But it wouldn’t be the holidays without a best of the year wrap-up. Get your drum rolls ready; here is our top five that maximize design, functionality, and creativity.


The Apps of the Year on Design Work Life -jukely

Making music apps is hard. Trust us, we spent 18 months on one recently. But Jukely cracks open an entirely new category in music apps as a social concert matchmaker. Who knew? Basically, it hooks you and your friends up with upcoming concerts you’ll love. It even directs you to get tickets and buy them in two taps. It’s almost too easy to go see live music. You can also connect your preferred music service (Rdio, Spotify, Soundcloud, to stream and listen to music. As far as straight-up music players go, it is a minimalist music player’s dream — but it’s the dreamy user interface, which makes for the exploration of live music happening all around you, that locks you in for long periods of time.

Hermes Silk Knots

The Apps of the year 2013 - on Design Work Life -Hermes

You’d think for the hundreds of dollars you have to spend on a Hermes silk scarf that they would literally tie themselves. Sadly they don’t. Fortunately for us, they made a gorgeous, video heavy, app to show us the ropes. They also do these features step-by-step, just in case their models went a bit too fast. Oh, and pro-tip, in the collection highlights you can blow the scarfs off the app screen. All of this is done with a mixture of beautiful illustration and even more gorgeous video, without the slightest effort.


The Apps of the Year 2013 on Design Work Life - uber

In our own hometown, UBER has sadly been driven away for good. It’s a lot like being smited from God. Even as we drool over their service from afar, and use it whenever we can in other cities like Toronto, we still love it. The latest app release is designed to support even more crazy promotions (they’re known for their fun delivery of ice cream, kittens, boats, choppers, and even Deloreans). And this past few weeks you could even get your Christmas tree UBER’d.  The app isn’t completely flat in design — the service slider does still have a little of that real world charm and feel. It’s simple utility made beautiful.

Device 6

The Apps of the Year 2013 on Design Work Life -Device 6

Part novel, part interactive experience, Device 6 occupies a new space between gaming, puzzles, and books. From the Saul Bass inspired intro sequence, to the warning message that ‘this app just won’t play if you don’t have the sound on’, the experience seems completely fresh. It goes beyond typical scrolling with scrolling in every direction and sound queues prompting you to follow along. You could literally get dizzy from all this but only in the best, you-don’t-want-to-put-it-down kind of way. And, interestingly enough, it doesn’t suffer from social game mechanics that plague so many other mobile experiences. No logins, no sharing. Just fun.

Air BnB

The Apps of the Year on Design Work Life - Air BnB

The latest version of the popular non-hotel booking service takes the best of flat design for iOS 7 and encourages you to stay somewhere new. With nothing but your thumb, you get lost in a never-ending visual parade of insane places to stay. It’s like the Standard High Line hotel of travel booking apps. Gawking into peoples’ rooms like some sort of Peeping Tom for as long as you can stand it. Within a few seconds, and very few swipes (criminally few if you ask us) you’re lost in a series of curated places such as horse ranches, European tree houses, or one of our personal favorites, Sleep in a Pub — which by the way had us when we peeped the “Meditation Loft in a Bar/Café” in Brooklyn, despite the poor reviews.


Jackson Murphy is a creative director and partner at digital agency, Pound & Grain. When he’s not cranking out words, he’s drinking coffee, obsessing over hotels, and figuring out where to travel to or just eat next.

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