Apple Celebrating First Birthday of the App Store


In just a few days time (July 11), the App Store will officially celebrate its first anniversary. To mark the occasion, Apple (s aapl) has introduced a special section in iTunes, which gives kudos to some of the company’s top App Store picks. The apps on the list are mostly ones you’d expect to see, based on their general popularity or prior success, but there are a few unusual choices that make the list interesting.

The lists vary by country, but I’m pretty sure apps are common to all where availability allows. So for instance, here in Canada we get CP (Canadian Press) Mobile instead of AP Mobile, and miss out entirely on Pandora. I’ve highlighted some picks below, all of which should be available in most countries.

Favorite Apps

photogenePhotogene ($2.99, iTunes link) — This has long been a standby on my iPhone, and it recently became far more useful, thanks to the inclusion of MMS in iPhone OS 3.0. It’s a lightweight, but effective, photo editor in your pocket, so you can touch up and add fun effects, like speech bubbles, to pictures you take with your iPhone’s camera (or that you download from the web). Yes, you can use it to make your own instant Lolcats. Dictionary & Thesaurus (free, iTunes link) — Between the iPhone’s auto-correct and this app, you have no more excuses for poor spelling. I bought Wordbook before this app was released (the day before, actually), and I regret it. This free app offers everything most of the paid ones do, and doesn’t require an Internet connection to function.

Favorite Games

Before I get into specifics here, I just want to point out that a few companies are very well represented in this list. Chillingo, ngmoco, Gameloft, and EA (s erts) all take multiple spots in this top list, and rightly so. They’re the ones to watch in this space, with ngmoco especially topping my list of iPhone gaming heavy-hitters.

zenboundZen Bound ($4.99, iTunes link) — I love this game, and it actually does help to focus, relax and center me. It sounds cheesy, but download the free trial and you’ll see what I mean. This is one of the few titles I recommend to friends without considering their general taste in gaming.

rolandoRolando ($5.99, iTunes link) — I’m sure that if Rolando 2 had been out long enough, it would’ve made this list as well. If you’ve yet to experience just what the adorable little Rolandos have to offer, give either or both of these games a try. There never was a better game designed so perfectly for the iPhone/iPod touch platform.

Now that you’ve had a year with the App Store, what are your picks?