Over the past several years, tech year-end lists have become as much of an annual tradition as Twilight Zone marathons and going to a bar to get away from the family on Christmas Eve. Apple dropped its big list today and surprise, there aren’t really too many surprises here — though it’s a useful reminder that, at least so far as entertainment is concerned, 2017 wasn’t a complete dumpster fire.
In the world of apps, the company defines a quartet of “breakout” trends that defined the year in downloads. Health and mindfulness were, not surprisingly, a key point. Meditation apps like Calm got a big boost, no doubt spurred on by what turned out to be another ridiculously stressful year for most of us. Nothing like a little mindfulness to take one’s mind of the seemingly imminent collapse of organized society.
Augmented reality also qualified as a breakout — and here at least, this appears to only be the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind, ARKit really just got rolling this year, and the iPhone X only just hit the market. Sure, games like Pokemon Go helped spur initial interest in the technology, but efforts from big players like Ikea and MLB, combined with some really clever small developers seem poised to help AR really take off over the next couple of years.
Moana, Disney’s computer animated tale of a teenager on a quest to save her people, topped the movie charts this year. Next in line was the standalone Star Wars movie Rogue One, followed by Wonder Woman, the well-received DC Comics film that managed to stand out in an era where it seems like every other film is a superhero flick.
Everyone’s favorite Canadian rapper Drake found another spot at the top of the lists, with iTunes’ best selling record, More Life. Ed Sheeran’s ridiculously ubiquitous “Shape of You” was the year’s top song, and Apple gives a special nod to Taylor Swift’s Reputation, which currently sits at number three for the year, in spite of having been released less than a month ago.
As for TV shows — Game of Thrones, obviously. The Walking Dead is up there as well, along with a couple of new shows, including Big Little Lies, This is Us, Victoria and The Americans. NPR interview stalwart Fresh Air held strong as the top podcast, and The Handmaid’s Tale took top honors on the book list, courtesy of a Hulu adaptation and general societal dystopia.