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And the winner is … Apple selects best iPhone/iPad apps of 2012

With some 700,000 apps available for download from the iTunes store, it can’t have been easy for Apple to choose the ‘Best of 2012’. Not that I’m suggesting they looked at each and every one, of course, but with so many decent downloads now vying for space on users’ iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, the competition will have been tougher than ever this year.

Still, after “much deliberation” or possibly a cursory look at the chart listings for the last few months, editors at Apple have put their heads together and chosen as their favorite iPhone app of the year Action Movie FX, free software from Bada Robot Interactive that allows users to jazz up their videos with “alien death rays, car crashes, missile strikes” and other such special effects.

The runner-up spot was given to music creation app Figure (99c) from Propellerhead. This addictive offering will have you making your own tunes in no time – though there’s no guarantee they’ll be any good.

Games – presumably because there are so many of them – get their own award. Apple editors chose Ubisoft’s Rayman Jungle Run ($2.99) as their favorite of 2012, describing it as a “must-play experience.”

In second place was free word game Letterpress from Atebit, “a battle for vocabulary and territory supremacy”.

Jumping over to the iPad, the editors selected Paper by Fifty Three as their top app of 2012. This elegant sketchbook/notebook app created quite a stir when it launched earlier this year and also managed to pick up a design award at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Paper is free, but the likelihood is you’ll end up making several in-app purchases to increase its usability.

The iPad version of Action Movie FX impressed editors enough to give it second spot.

As for iPad games, puzzle game The Room ($1.99) from Fireproof Games came top, while Tiger Style’s Waking Mars ($4.99) – described as a “cerebral and atmospheric adventure game” – was judged second best.

Apple’s app store has been a phenomenal success since launching back in 2008, though competition among developers is fierce. The store now holds around 700,000 apps, and earlier this year reached a colossal 25 billion downloads.

The editors also picked their 2012 favorites from other iTunes categories such as music, movies and TV shows.