Apple Names BeReal iPhone App of the Year
At the end of each calendar year, Apple selects a host of apps to honor. A relatively new social media network that asks users to share photos once a day snagged the top spot for iPhones.
BeReal, the venture-backed upstart social media app that allows users to post one, timed photo per day, won Apple's "iPhone App of the Year" designation on Tuesday.
The technology company honors a host of apps each year, focusing "honor excellence in innovation, ingenuity, and technical achievement in app and game design," the company says, in categories like "Mac App of the Year" and "Apple Watch App of the Year."
This year, there were also cultural impact awardees, which focus on apps that "made a lasting impact on people's lives and influenced culture," including Dot's Home, which in its app form is a social-justice-oriented single-player video game.
The iPhone award winner, BeReal, pings ("It's time to BeReal") its users at a prescribed, variable time a day, and asks them to take a front and back camera photo. You can post later than the set time, but you can't see your friend's photos until you post yours.
"BeReal gives users an authentic look into the lives of their family and friends," Apple said in a related press release.
BeReal launched in January 2020 by France-based Alexis Barreyat, who once worked for GoPro. But it's not quite a scrappy upstart: BeReal app is backed by venture capital royalty, to the tune of a $30 million series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
It does not appear to have an obvious revenue source at present. The company says on its press page (the company declined to comment on the award specifically) that the app is free, does not have ads, and the company does not plan to work with brands.
"We want to stick around for as long as you'll have us," the company wrote. "There are a lot of cool things we want to build, and we're very lucky to be able to prioritize our time this way. We assure you, once we're ready to share information, you'll know."
The company has also not shared download numbers publicly, but it did previously say in a Greenhouse posting it has over 10 million active daily users.
The app has been popular enough that it's reportedly competitors like TikTok and Instagram into creating similar concepts.
Still, it doesn't look like BeReal cares. As the New York Times puts it, "BeReal captures our nostalgia for a time when social media was boring."
"BeReal won't make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram," the company says on its fact sheet.