Apple and Google both announced their respective picks for best apps of the year on the App Store and Google Play Store. Notably, it appears that the two companies treated artificial intelligence apps delicately, with Apple refusing to name a single AI-based app on the list. However, Apple did name generative AI the “trend of the year,” acknowledging how big of a year AI had in 2023 without highlighting specific apps. By comparison, ChatGPT appeared on Google’s end-of-year list as the “user’s choice” best app.
Despite the ChatGPT app gaining massive popularity on both iOS and Android, it didn’t claim the top spot on either platform. It’s worth noting that the official app didn’t officially debut on iOS until May and on Android until July. Additionally, a slew of other apps provided similar features using the same API, which could have complicated the best app selection. If a bunch of similar apps all used the same OpenAI model to provide nearly identical features, it might be difficult to choose one that stood out.
But OpenAI’s official ChatGPT app was undoubtedly one of this year’s most influential. It was the fastest-growing consumer app this year for a brief period, before being unseated by Threads. ChatGPT reached over 100 million users on mobile just briefly after it first debuted. As such, it’s a bit strange that the app didn’t appear on either Apple or Google’s editor-curated categories.
What Apple and Google chose as the best apps instead
Apple named AllTrails as its iPhone app of the year, and selected Honkai: Star Rail as its iPhone game of the year. AllTrails is a hiking and biking app that has more than 400,000 crowdsourced trail guides and a robust user base. Google chose Imprint as its best app in 2023, which is a learning app that helps people learn a ton of different concepts through stories and other content. The two companies agreed on the game of the year, with Google also selecting Honkai: Star Rail as the Play Store’s best game in 2023.
Google acknowledged AI apps more directly than Apple, creating a new category for apps centered around AI. However, ChatGPT was only an honorable mention for this category. Google chose Character AI, an app that lets users talk with a variety of AI-powered characters, for this new category instead. It also listed Artifact, a news aggregator with AI, as its best everyday essential app.
In all, Apple named 14 apps in its roundup, and Google picked many more and included some honorable mentions as well. Many of these apps are available on either the App Store or the Play Store if you want to try them out.