Macworld's 2011 App Gems Awards

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App Gems: Hall of fame apps

This is the third year we’ve handed out App Gems awards to the top iOS apps. And each year, we’ve noticed a few familiar faces among the leading contenders. Certain apps could claim a trophy every year—they embody the best of what the iOS platform has to offer and continually introduce improvements and enhancements that make them the class of the App Store. To recognize this ongoing level of excellence, we’ve created the App Hall of Fame. Five iOS favorite make up our inaugural class of perpetually top-notch apps.

1Password Pro

There aren’t many apps that can command a $15 price tag. But 1Password Pro has never made me regret my investment.

The secure password-management and account information tool from Agile Web Solutions works as well on the iPad and iPhone as it does on the Mac—which is to say, superbly. You can keep your passwords and other sensitive information, including credit card numbers and PINs, software key codes, secure notes, and personal info for filling out Web forms all under 1Password Pro’s protection. Remember the password for 1Password Pro, and you can forget all the rest—and rest easy knowing that you can set the app to “auto-lock” in one minute, protecting your most crucial data even if your iPad or iPhone should go missing. The app is frequently updated and is easy to sync over Wi-Fi with 1Password on the Mac or on your other devices. Best of all, it’s easy to use.—Jeff Merron

Instagram

It may not have been the first app to offer clever, low-fidelity filters for your photographs, and it obviously wasn’t the first social network. But by brilliantly combining the fun of photo manipulation with the delight of sharing the finished products, Instagram from Burbn created an enduring photography community. Steady improvements—live filter previews, higher-resolution photos—are welcome, but Instagram’s best feature is its core simplicity: Browsing through photos is effortless, and sharing your own is a snap.—Lex Friedman

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