Apple has announced the dates of its 2011 Worldwide developer Conference (June 6-10), which will be home to, among other things, the 2011 Apple Design Awards. There’s good news and bad news about the awards.

The good news is that, unlike last year, Mac apps will be eligible for the awards. In 2010, Apple caused quite a stir and a stink by only giving out awards to iOS-based apps. This increased the hoopla that Apple had lost its love for the Mac and that the company’s focus would soon be on iOS devices only.

That’s certainly proven to be incorrect. And the 2011 Apple Design Awards will honor both iOS AND Mac OS X software, which is great news. Unfortunately, those awards seem to be limited exclusively to titles available via the Mac App Store or Apple App Store, based on the wording at Apple’s 2011 Design Awards website (

That’s a bad move on Apple’s part, as it only encourages the viewpoint that Apple wants to make its Mac App Store the main place — if not the ONLY place — for getting Mac software. The company already controls what software gets into the store and even which apps get the most promotion. Limiting its Design Awards only to Mac App Store ads is too restrictive and a slap in the face to developers who make great Mac software but who, for whatever reasons, choose to distribute in ways that don’t include Apple’s own store.

— Dennis Sellers