Five years have passed since Steve Jobs stood on a stage in Mountain View and said, "One last thing...", and those five years have been fast and furious. Over half a million apps have now been uploaded to Apple's App Store, not to mention the huge numbers of Android apps and Windows Phone apps that have been made available. But design-wise few of them can truly be considered beautiful, even the best iPhone apps.
The last year, however, has seen some mobile applications pop up with amazing-looking user interfaces that offer fantastic user experience. To encourage this trend, some friends and I have created a community, Meerli, to enable exceptional mobile designers to connect and share their work. Here's a collection of designs we've found that we think can inspire you and bring mobile design into a new era.
Istid by Danish designer Karsten Moskjaer Kofod tells you where the nearest ice cream shop is and lets you rate it. And it's beautifully realised: just how gorgeous is this online form?
02. I Love Moscow
This stunning-looking travel guide to Russian's capital for your iPhone was created by Muscovite designer Arill. Like any good travel app, it's attractive, enticing, and easy to use.
When a major international design agency produces an in-house app, expect something special. Wieden + Kennedy made this app for their own employees and it really is stylish; shame it's not available to the wider public. The app was designed by Leigh Hibell.
04. HQ 2.0
HQ 2.0 is a soon-to-be released project/task management app that's beautifully made. It's the handiwork of Assembly Co, a three-fella design collective from Vancouver; we love the mix of the dark background with monochromatic colours.
Weather apps for the iPhone are a dime a dozen, so you have to do something special to stand out in the App Store. Created by Turkish designer Atilla Özcan, Weat's design achieves just that with clever use of a retro graphic style, monochromatic colors and fine lines. Yum.
If you haven't downloaded Clear already, then do so immediately! Created by Dan Counsell, product designer and founder at Realmac Software, it's the to-do list you wish that you'd always had. The app strips everything right back to basics with an interface that’s based around colour-coded strips and instinctive, iPhone-native gestures.
Wthr, created by David Elgena, describes itself as, "a simpler, more beautiful weather app", and as you can see the description is not without merit. If you don't have a weather app on your iPhone yet, this is definitely one you should consider.
Smart personal newsfeed app Prismatic might not hit you at first sight as the most innovative and amazing app. But when you get it into your hands and start playing with it, you'll be astonished by how well thought-through the user interface is. It's soon to be released, so keep a sharp eye out for it.
09. Camera Genius
Camera Genius is an astonishingly beautiful photo app. Designed by Eugene Cheporov, art director at Artua Studio, it makes great use of skeuomorphism to improve the experience.
10. Air Dictate
As the name implies, Air Dictate uses Siri's speech-to-text functionality to enable to dictate text to your Mac via your iPhone. Designed by Asa Miller, its graphical interface helps make quite a sophisticated task seem like a piece of cake.
Created by interaction designer Noah Levin, Google search app is elegantly constructed and beautiful to see in action - well worthy of the world's most popular search engine.
Moodswings is a concept app made by talented Swedish designer Gustav Schiring that lets you track your mood throughout the day. The UI is absolutely amazing on this one!
Jauntly is a simple goal setting web app that allows you to keep track of your goals and helps you accomplish them. Created by James Madson, strictly speaking this is a web app, but we've included it here because it looks fantastic on every mobile device we've seen it on.
Another beautiful weather app, this one lets you know the weather in different parts of the world, not only your current location. It was designed by Jackal Studio.
Overlapps lets you find apps that people love, and so (the theory goes) you will too. Designed by Miguel Antolín, Overlapps' user interface is itself pretty lovable, too.
This might just be a design concept at the moment, but it's a very well done one, and we'll be the first to download this when it arrives at the App Store. It's the creation of UI/UX designer & front-end developer Gaston Figueroa.
17. SNES UI
Created by interface designer Oskar Smith, this is a working iPhone tribute to the SNES controller that's beautifully rendered and evokes golden memories. Need we say more?
Chaincal is a minimalistic habit-building app designed by Dan Motzenbecker. Set goals and stick to them one day at a time. Try it out!
CarCamApp is an amazingly simply car camcorder and photo snapper. Designed by Anthony Faconti, it has a beautiful flat graphic style which, sadly, you don't see in so many apps nowadays.
Last, but not least, we have the soon-to-be released Meerli app for the iPhone. On this app you'll be able to browse app designs in their natural environment, without any top-bar or other disturbing elements. And you'll of course be able to comment on, upvote and favourite apps, just like you can on the Meerli site!
Words: Holger Sindbaek
Like this? Read these:
- The best iPhone apps for designers
- Secrets for creating an addictive app
- Fantastic resources for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone design
Did we miss your favourite mobile app design? Tell us about it in the comments below!