Review What should you wake up to?

Discussion in 'iTunes App Store Reviews' started by Abcmsaj, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    Battle of the Clocks

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    We all have alarms. Whether you need them to get up for work, school, remind you of a sports practice you have, or just to wake you up after your late morning lie-in.

    However, the choice of sounds available on the Clock.app are... limited. The only one I can bare to listen to is Piano Riff, which is just a blues sequence repeated... How boring.

    However, with the recent introduction of 3.0, developers now have the ability to access your iTunes music library on your iDevice. This means that you can now wake up to any song you have in your arsenal - And it's my duty to tell you which of these two alarm apps (iMusiClock and AlarmTunes) you should be buying.

    AlarmTunes

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    Name: AlarmTunes
    Developer: McLean Mobile Studios
    Price: $0.99 (59p)
    Size: 1.5MB
    Version: 1.1​

    AlarmTunes recently got a massive update to v1.1, which brought a whole host of new features, some of which I'll type now:

    • Direct Access to all music from your iPod music Library including playlists, albums, songs, artists, podcasts and more...
    • Ability to designate multiple or individual tracks as your alarm
    • Multiple Alarm Capability with On/Off Toggle
    • Resortable Alarms
    • A true clock! Clock display will remain illuminated while device is plugged into power source
    • Shake feature enables random selection of music
    • Large snooze button and a Shake to Snooze feature
    • Works in sleep mode (unlike most alarm apps)
    • Day/Night Display Modes
    • Fall asleep to your music with alarm preview mode, automatically turns music off after 30 minutes
    • Ability to select shuffle, continuous play or repeat when multiple tracks are selected
    • Alarm Fade-in
    • 24 hour clock support with a simple double tapping on the display
    • Persistent memory of settings such as alarm mode, music selection, volume, display, 12/24 hour preference
    • Standard alarm mode available as an alternative to music
    • Simple and intuitive interface
    • Set the tone for the day and wake up to your favorite songs.

    The interface on this app is beautiful. The lovely gradient blue with icons is easy to navigate through and nice to look at. Double tapping the screen turns the clock into 24 hour mode, too. The day of the week and date is also shown on the bottom of the screen.

    I'll take you through the buttons on the top of the screen now.

    1. The clock

    Tapping this brings up an interface with the typical time wheels (that you may have used in the Clock.app) You just rotate the wheels to the time you want an alarm to go off, and tap "Add." Using this method, you can add an unlimited number of alarms, and the swipe to delete feature is present if you need to get rid of some.

    You can also delete and move multiple alarms by tapping the three horizontal lines, which lets you drag alarms around and delete them - again, this is similar to the Clock.app.

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    2. The lightbulb

    An innovative feature in AlarmTunes is night mode, which reverses the colours of the clock, so that you have blue text on black background. It does look like one of those typical LED clocks, and does actually look better in the dark. I think this would be used when you don't want a bright light shining onto you when you're trying to sleep! But it is a brilliant feature.

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    3. The speaker

    Simply a volume control. I don't really see a use for it, as I keep it on maximum and adjust volume using the hardware volume controls.

    4. Play/Pause button

    I actually don't know. I've tried everything, and I can't get it to work. If you know how it works, please tell me... It doesn't seem to play music without an alarm... and it doesn't turn on/off alarms, so I'm not sure what it's for.

    5. The music note

    Tap this and you can choose the music you want to wake up to. A benefit of this app is that you can choose multiple songs to listen to. Maybe you could start with a soft song, and then choose a louder one to force you awake!

    The app also supports podcasts too! If you like waking up to the radio. You can also shuffle, repeat one or repeat all of your alarm tunes.

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    The Alarm

    When the alarm goes off, you're presented with this simple screen. You can choose to snooze (which will play your alarm again in 5 minutes) or stop the alarm playing altogether and get out of bed. The buttons are large and on separate sides of the screen, so you can't accidentally hit one or the other. The time is also displayed LED style in the centre of the screen, and also the name of the song playing underneath that.

    Another special feature is "Shake to Snooze" which literally does what it says. Just shake your device and it will snooze. Innovative.

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    Extras?

    If you're anything like me, you probably want your iDevice's screen to be off when you set an alarm. Maybe because it's too bright? or because you're worried about battery drainage or future screen issues...

    AlarmTunes works when the screen's off! Just open the app, set it up, and press the lock button and it will work - Unlike most apps which stop working when the screen's locked.

    Attached Files:

  2. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    iMusiClock

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    Name: iMusiClock
    Developer: Tomer
    Price: $1.99 (£1.19)
    Size: 0.4MB
    Version: 1.1​

    iMusiClock has a few less features than AlarmTunes - Definitely a shorter list.. However, it does have a few extra bonuses:

    • Wake up with your own iPod music.
    • Fall asleep with your own iPod music.
    • Snooze alarm for 10 minutes.
    • Works whether iPhone power cable is connected or not.
    • Automatic saving and restoring to last alarm time.
    • Automatic saving and restoring last media selection.
    • Automatic saving and restoring a set alarm after call interruption or user induced program termination and relaunch.
    • Alarm time wheel adapts to system clock format (24h/12h).
    • Sets volume to max when alarm rings.
    • Supports Podcasts as media input

    The app has a much more standard (default SDK graphics) and simpler interface (only two buttons you really need to press)

    Alarm Tab

    On the bottom left is the Alarm tab. It's the button you'll want if you're looking to set an alarm to wake up to. Again, a wheel-type interface is present where the user just has to spin to the correct time. Then, pick a song to wake up to and hit Set.

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    You can only set one song to wake up to with this app - And only one alarm too.

    Sleep Tab

    This is a feature not present in any other alarm clock app. Some people like to go to sleep to music, whether it's the radio or songs from your iPod. However, power could be wasted if you're asleep and music is still playing, so this button is designed to set a countdown timer for you.

    Set the timer to however long you think it will take to get you to sleep and choose a song. It's a similar interface to the Alarm tab, but the countdown timer is different:

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    And that's basically it for that app.. There aren't many more features to talk about, although it costs more than AlarmTunes.

    Comparison

    If you've read both parts of this review, you can probably work out for yourself which one is better, but I'll spell it out for you anyway:

    AlarmTunes can support multiple alarms (potentially an infinite number if you needed them) whereas iMusiClock only can support one at a time (although it does save it on exit incase it's a frequent alarm)

    AlarmTunes can also set multiple songs or podcasts, whereas iMusiClock only lets your select one.

    AlarmTunes has a nicer looking interface than the default-style Apple theme. The menus are nicer and the images used don't look like Clip Art.

    AlarmTunes is half the price of iMusiClock for many more features.

    AlarmTunes has innovative features such as Shake to Shuffle. However, iMusiClock does have that Sleep function, which could be a nice addition if you're looking for an app like that.

    Basically - AlarmTunes has it all. The price. The features. The graphics. And it could easily replace that useless Volume button with a sleep function! If it doesn't plan on adding that feature in the future, though, look around! I've had a app called aSleep since the App Store opened a year ago. It costs $0.99 and plays relaxing sounds to send you to sleep. So you could buy AlarmTunes and aSleep for $1.98, get all the features and it would still cost less than iMusiClock!

    Check out the scores below:

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  3. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    It's a clock fight!

    Top comparative review. I know where my money's at.
  4. Octizzle

    Octizzle Member

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    I'll go with AlarmTunes
    thanks for the review!
  5. Universal Denizen

    Universal Denizen Member

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    Very nicely reviewed! Detailed as always. Thanks.
  6. chadi

    chadi Member

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    I bought this app and I *think* the play button is for the alarm preview mode and i guess automatically pauses after 30 minutes, cause if you hit the play button whatever song you have as the alarm will play. I dunno, I could be wrong but who knows.

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  7. Screamworks

    Screamworks Member

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    Try waking up to "Unbroken" By Killswitch Engage
    Full Blast.

    Better than a double hit of coffe!

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  8. Chicken

    Chicken Retired Moderator

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    Abcmsaj well whichever one you used this morning is a load of rubbish, considering you were nearly late for work.

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  9. Universal Denizen

    Universal Denizen Member

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    ^

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    I went with AlarmTunes too & am happy with the purchase.
  10. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    LOL. Yeah but let's not mention that here

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