Every year, Apple celebrates the best-of-breed applications on their platform with the Apple Design Awards, which are presented at WWDC. This year’s winners include the fantastic text editor TextMate and the eBay power sellers’ tool, iSale. The awards are presented in the following categories:

  • Best Mac OS X Developer Tool - This category highlights innovative Mac OS X software development tools which increase programmer or interface designer productivity in new and valuable ways.
  • Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics - This category highlights advanced, effective, and innovative uses of Mac OS X Quartz, OpenGL, and QuickTime.
  • Best Mac OS X Dashboard Widget - This category highlights widgets which bring valuable, relevant, and innovative functionality to the Mac OS X Dashboard.
  • Best Mac OS X Automator Workflow - This category highlights workflows containing an action, or collections of actions, which demonstrate the power of automation on Mac OS X and eliminate time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks, in an efficient and innovative manner.
  • Best Mac OS X User Experience - This category highlights products that deliver the elegance, attractiveness, polish, and attention-to-detail characteristic of great Mac OS X software.
  • Best Mac OS X Game - This category highlights great games which take full advantage of the features and power of Mac platform to deliver an highly compelling entertainment experience on Mac OS X.
  • Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution - This category highlights products developed for the Science community (e.g. Life Science, Medicine, Computation, Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics, Etc.) that leverage features of Mac OS X and Apple hardware in creative ways to allow researchers to more easily and quickly push the limits of human knowledge and understanding.

I love that Apple highlights the applications for their platform that they consider to be the absolute best (even though I’ve never won one ;-), and I wish Microsoft did it, too. With tens or hundreds of thousands of applications available for Windows, it can be really difficult to find the absolute best applications out there. Maybe I’ll do an Aaron’s Design Awards for Windows sometime soon ;-)