All iPhones come with a simple Clock app. It serves its purpose well, yet some users are in search of something better; an alternative that can perform more than a few basic functions. For them, the App Store is a vast wasteland of rubbish that isn’t anywhere near the quality they’d hope to use as their main clock app. But that’s just for those who like quality and polish. If you’re one of those people, I’ve got a shiny new product for you.
It’s called My Alarm Clock. Made by Apalon, you may have heard of their Weather Live or Calculator Pro apps. I believe that their best development however, is the aforementioned Clock alternative. It’s not just good looking — the functionality is beyond that of any stock iOS 5 app, that’s for sure. Let’s take a closer look.
Set Up Your Alarms
Most people that are in need of an alarm have a busy workweek or a couple of days that they need to wake up early for something. Now, some of you probably don’t prefer waking up to a noisy clattering ringtone or other sort of kerfuffle, so My Alarm Clock hopes to solve that by allowing you to set a song as the sound that it’ll boom throughout your bedroom in the morning. In fact, you can add as many songs to the list as you’d like and it’ll use them as your wakeup mix.
Enable push notifications if you want an alarm in the background.
My one complaint about this feature is that there should be a way to trim music so that it’s optimized for your little wakeup-tone. A song that doesn’t get loud enough to wake you up until halfway through will waste two more minutes of the time you had to get off to work. It is nice to have a fade-in and shuffle function though — the former will ease in a loud tone and the latter will change up your playlist each day for a new surprise. If you actually want to wake up however, I suggest having all loud songs in the queue and turning off fade-in.
Let’s move on to the sounds My Alarm Clock includes. There are nine in total and each of them is much better than the default iOS sounds combined; you cannot use any of the ringtones or sounds included with your iPhone in this app. Sounds like “Mountain” are chill, yet abrupt enough to startle your sleep — well, if you’re not too heavy a sleeper, that is. Others like “Bells” and “Digital” are so annoying that you’ll have to get up to shut them off, but please don’t throw your phone at the wall. Overall, this app’s sound set is great and really has no limitations with the songs function.
Download any sound you want to wake up to, loop it if needed, add it to your iTunes library as a song, and then import it into My Alarm Clock for a custom tone.
The Beautiful Clock Faces
My favorite part about My Alarm Clock is its well-designed clock themes. Unlike the rest of the app, which uses a boring default iOS interface, the beautiful themes have a fantastic sense of design. The effort that’s gone into each one shows and it’s nothing like any other clock I’ve seen on the iPhone. Wordy is one of my favorite skins; it tells the time using words for a more verbose way of providing pure geekery.
One of the coolest faces is C-Motion, a mix between a thermostat and dial on an expensive safe. It boasts a very modern design with a complete analog (and abstract) display of the time, in addition to the day of the week displayed in red at the center of the clock. Something that’d make this theme even better is a sense of warm and cold that relies on the weather function of My Alarm Clock to change the red color scheme to something more blue.
Check the Weather, Sleep to Music, or See in the Dark
Thankfully, My Alarm Clock isn’t limited to the basic functions of iOS’ default Clock app, but it does include some of them. First off there’s the sleep timer, which will play you any music in your library or white noise for up to 23 hours and forty-nine minutes. There’s also an option to shuffle the music in your playlist. I like my music at a certain volume just a notch above zero, so not having to adjust it every night is a luxury.
Double tap the main screen to turn on the LED flashlight.
Moving on to your new nightlight, this app doubles as a flashlight using your iPhone’s LED flash. I personally use Flashlight Ⓞ for this task, but if I already have My Alarm Clock open for the morning, it might be easier to access. While you’re busy finding your way in the dark, you can always check the weather outside with a quick glance at your clock. This app shows the temperature, conditions and wind right outside your home just in case you didn’t feel like going outside. Unfortunately, there’s no support for this feature in landscape mode. There is also no forecast function because the developer wants you to buy its weather app.
I really enjoy using My Alarm Clock because it’s beautiful and does its job well, but there are some minor annoyances. First off, the developer enjoys advertising its other apps through this one: on occasion, you’ll be asked if you’d like to purchase Weather Live and other apps and if you press “No, Thanks,” My Alarm Clock will still ask you about it at another time as if you absolutely must purchase more apps from Apalon.
In the first five minutes I spent exploring My Alarm Clock, I was asked to purchase three of Apalon’s other apps. Now, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to advertise within an app, but when you’ve paid for it, I’d expect the developers to have more sense than to push more of their creations in your face. There should be a rule against this; I’ve seen it in a few other apps before — some priced as high as $9.99. I’m surprised that Apple hasn’t ruled against self-promotion in popups. Adding your other apps on the Help & More screen is fine with me, just don’t throw them in my face. I’ve paid for this app and if I enjoy it then I’ll be sure to check out the others in your portfolio.
Shake your iPhone to snooze an alarm.
Other than that, the app crashes a bit too often for my taste. For example, if you’re simply adding an alarm or changing the sound in one, My Alarm clock will quit completely. Out of nowhere, I don’t really know what’s going on with this, but I’m hoping the developer will fix it in the next update.
I’ve been using this app for a long time now and it’s a mixed bag. When it first released a year back, My Alarm Clock was the best way to use a sleep timer for music on my iPad since there will be no Clock app until iOS 6. Now, with the promise of a full and beautiful clock on the iPad sometime soon, I’ve not listened to music while falling asleep. (I mainly stopped using the app because it wasn’t optimized for the new iPad’s Retina display, but that changed with its recent update.)
I don’t think there’s a more beautiful clock app in all the land. My Alarm Clock only disappoints with its random crashing and self-promotion campaigns. Other than that, I’d recommend this to anyone who likes good design, wishes to display their iPhone as a fancy alternative to the traditional desk clock or just wants to try out something different.