Apple has announced its ninth Annual Apple Design Awards.

Apple's Design Awards attempt to recognize "outstanding achievement in Application Software and QuickTime Content". This year the company is opening up for submissions in another category: "Performance Demos".

Performance Demos aims to showcase the "performance of shipping products on Apple hardware and software, and products that demonstrate Apple hardware and software technologies in a unique, unexpected, and awe-inspiring manner."

The Awards have been ramped-up for 2004. New categories have been added to both the QuickTime Content and Application Software contests. Apple is also accepting entries from a larger list of countries than ever before, adn is accepting entries electronically for the first time.

Awards available in the Performance Demos category include: Best performance demo for a shipping product and most innovative Apple technology performance demo.

These awards are presented annually at a major event at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference: "Where the Mac technical community gathers to hone skills and learn best practices for delivering outstanding products with Apple technologies."

Apple wants developers to get involved: "If you have worked hard to create a best of class product that showcases Apple’s platform and technologies, don’t miss this opportunity to be recognized by Apple in front of your peers and the press," it says.

Winners in all categories (except the Student category) can choose their own prize, either a 17-inch PowerBook G4 or a Power Mac G5. Adding a little grist to the rumour-mill, Apple does not say what speed processor either product carries. WWDC takes place in late June.

Application Software awards categories include:

Best Product New to Mac OS
Most Innovative Mac OS X Product
Best Mac OS X User Experience
Best Mac OS X Technology Adoption
Best Mac OS X Open Source Product
Best Mac OS X Server Solution
Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product
Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution
Best Mac OS X Student Product.

The QuickTime Content awards categories are:

Best QuickTime Content for Promotion
Best QuickTime Content for Education
Best QuickTime Content for Entertainment.