17 of Apple's favorite apps

The maker of the iPhone and iPad doesn't play favorites - exactly. But these apps have gotten extra attention from Cupertino.

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Steve Jobs was a stickler for detail, requiring final approval on everything from ads to wording on his Keynote presentations. It's no surprise then that the company he built places similar attention to detail when choosing apps to highlight in its ads and new product promotions. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) won't talk about the selection process (a spokesman declined to comment), but there's little doubt that inclusion in an Apple commercial, or better yet, a launch video at one of Apple's major press events, can help boost an app's popularity. Developers agree to the company's Program Licensing Agreement before apps move to the App Store, giving the company full license to use material as it sees fit. Many app developers are therefore pleasantly surprised when their apps become part of Apple's marketing campaign. Tread through the comments section of any Apple commercial uploaded to YouTube, and you'll find numerous requests from viewers trying to identify the featured apps.

Astronomy apps Star Walk and Solar Walk, both created by Vito Technology, have been featured in multiple Apple advertisements, including the iPad 3 presentation. Vito CEO Victor Toporkov says that inclusion in Apple promotions doesn't dramatically increase app sales for his astronomy apps, but it does help them retain a top position in the App Store. (Star Walk currently sits at No. 7 on the list of Top 10 education apps in the U.K. and routinely holds a Top 10 rating in the U.S.) Apple highlights apps from a number of categories, including travel, education, music, news, and games. But some simply appear more often, or with more fanfare, than others. Here's a look at some of the company's favorite apps.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated April 08 2013 11:37 AM ET
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