30 DEC

AppShopper Picks: 2011 Apps of the Year

by Marianne Schultz

There are over 500,000 apps available for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store today and thousands of those debuted in the App Store this year. It can be overwhelming to stay on top of what’s new in the App Store (though our What’s New list can always help, of course) and we wanted to highlight the top new apps that caught our attention in 2011.

The popularity of Twitter, the micro-blogging social networking service, has exploded recently and there’s no shortage of Twitter apps in the App Store. Although Twitter has made several changes to its own official (and free) iOS app this year, Tweetbot by developer Tapbots continues to be one of the more popular alternatives. Tweetbot debuted to much acclaim in April and has an average rating of 4.5 stars in the App Store at the time of this post and it’s been a regular in the Top 200 Paid Social Networking iPhone apps.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/social-networking/tweetbot-a-twitter-client-with-personality”]

To appease aspiring DJs without the turntables and equipment to go pro, algoriddim released its djay app for the iPhone and iPod touch this year, complementing a version that had debuted in late 2010 for the iPad only. djay essentially turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a portable DJ system so you can become the life of the party at the drop of a hat.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/music/djay-for-iphone-ipod-touch”]

Flipboard is another developer that brought a winning app previously only available for the iPad to the iPhone and iPod touch. Flipboard is a personalized social magazine app that compiles articles, images and videos from your Twitter and Facebook feeds and other sources you select. A universal version that added compatibility for the iPhone debuted just a few weeks ago and it’s proving to be just as popular on the iPhone as it is on the iPad.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/news/flipboard”]

If you’re making New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, you may want to check out the official P90X app that hit the App Store in November. P90X is a home exercise program that’s been around for several years and used by millions around the world. The app offers the popular program’s workouts in a format that’s easy to use on the iPhone.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/healthcare-fitness/p90x-2″]

Though it’s been a while since I played the piano after years of lessons as a kid, an iPad app that debuted in September got me excited to get back on that hard, unforgiving bench to try it out again. Tonara is a sheet music display app that can actually hear what you’re playing and automatically turn to the next page, avoiding the need to free up a hand to make the transition. How cool is that? Tonara is free and has a in-app library of sheet music that can be purchased.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/music/tonara”]

Even though you’d think it’s a mundane topic, knowing the weather forecast is critical for iPhone users if the number of weather apps in the App Store is any indication. Unfortunately, this glut makes it hard for developers to stand out but ITWC Association managed it earlier this year with the release of Fahrenheit, an app that uses push notifications to show the current temperature right on your home screen through a badge on the app’s icon. (There’s a Celsius version as well.)

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/weather/fahrenheit-weather-and-temperature-on-your-home-screen”]


We defer to the experts at our sister site, TouchArcade, for recommendations in this area since they live and breathe iOS games. This year, TouchArcade selected Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery by Capybara Games as the 2011 Game of the Year. The first runner up was Chillingo’s Anomaly Warzone Earth and honorable mentions included Infinity Blade II, Mage Gauntlet, and SpellTower. You can read the full Game of the Year article over at TouchArcade here and even hear our editors discuss these selections in their podcast here.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/games/superbrothers-sword-sworcery-ep”]

I consider myself a casual gamer, dabbling in some Xbox 360 games here and there but spending most of my time playing games on my iPhone and iPad. In particular, I love shooting games and just about anything involving killing zombies and I’ve also found myself sucked into easy-to-play games with fun achievements and special in-game equipment to unlock. Given all of this, a couple of games stood out to me this year: Zombieville USA 2 and Jetpack Joyride.

Zombieville USA 2 by Mika Mobile is a cute zombie shooter with a ton of weapons, skills, and characters to choose from. It also has a great co-op mode where you can pair up with a partner to kill zombies galore over Bluetooth or through Game Center. You can read a full review of the game at TouchArcade here.

Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios (those brilliant folks who also made Fruit Ninja) is incredibly straightforward to play with a simple tap mechanic to make the main character, Barry Steakfries, jump. It may not sound like much but it’s absorbing and easy to play in short bursts and there are a ton of achievements that will compel you to jump through hoops in order to earn them. You can read a full review of Jetpack Joyride at TouchArcade here.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/games/zombieville-usa-2, http://appshopper.com/games/jetpack-joyride”]

That’s it for our 2011 selections! We here at AppShopper wish everyone a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration and a fantastic 2012!


  1. Rocko

    It is my sincere hope that context based icons will be coming to iOS 6 seeing as how the Calendar app is already capable of it.

  2. Juan

    App reviewers are just one big, incestuous circle. Try finding an app that’s not part of the hype machine and reviewing it. There are good apps whose developers just aren’t good at kissing up to reviewers.

  3. Promo

    I was about to purchase the “Fahrenheit – Weather and Temperature on your Home Screen” app, when (as usual before purchasing) I check its sales’ history. Turns out on 22 December, they RAISED the price from 99 cents to $1.99. What’s more, they cynically state on their iTunes link “Happy Holidays sale!!!”. Yeah, some sale. I don’t give my money to liars, thank you.

  4. Amy

    I found this app “HiFutureSelf” over break. It’s so much fun! You basically send reminders and dorky messages to your future self.

    At this point I couldn’t live without it. So that’s my pic for app of the year! http://hifutureself.com

  5. Emily

    I really hope temple run ends up as a game of the year!!! Everyone I know plays the game and I really hope other people could hear about it and enjo it too! I am addicted and it is the only game me and my friends and family play! Get the app and trust me you won’t regret it!!

  6. Larry

    Rock Prodigy is probably the best app I’ve bought for the iPad. It’s like Rock Band, but you use a real guitar to go through lessons and songs.

    I believe it was free, but I’ve spent @ $20 in content (much cheaper than $90/month for real lessons and I think I’ve learned more this week than a month of lessons would have taught me).

    I’ll eventually start taking lessons, but this is a good way to dust off that old guitar you got as a gift, but never learned to play.

    The first time you actually play along with “More Than Words” or “Hey There Delilah”, you will be amazed!


  7. Tuneup Maestro

    Good picks there but you missed out Editions – at last AOL released something good! lol


  8. Dee

    Chronicle is a great app-category productivity.

  9. Caprice Gaffer


  10. Lorretta Swogger

    We all believe our world should have all the support we’re able to supply it with to keep on progressing. Something you could do is decrease your carbon footprint by having an electric bike.

  11. Learning Planet

    Fun and learn at the same time for kids.

    Try it at Apple Store for only 0.99 US

  12. Learning Planet


    Fun and learn at the same time for kids.

    Try it at Apple Store for only 0.99 US

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