When you try to get your mind to relax, what do you do? Go and lose yourself in sports, read a book or watch a movie?
What if you can’t do that but still want some focus? What do you think of? That last beach vacation with the waves gently rolling to the shore — or maybe that summer day with the birds singing and the gras rustling in a light breeze?
Everyone will think of something different and yet everyone yearns for that perfect moment of serenity. Now you can have that anytime, whether you’re in your crowded office or in your living room at home. With Serenity for iPhone, sounds and beautiful videos will take your mind on a vacation far far away.
Serenity For Your Senses
The new app from the makers of Camera+ and other successful applications strives to bring you ease of mind. The developers not only want you to listen to something pleasant — there are enough white noise apps on the App Store — but they combine nature sounds and synthesized music with stunning HD video footage or animated movies to appeal to two of your most important senses.
To that end, you need to bring some patience to the table before you can get started. At 241 MB, the app is rather big and will take some time to download. But once that’s done, it’s quite rewarding.
The sounds and videos are spread across five screens, each one symbolizing a different mood setting, ranging from romantic over a fresh spring/summer day to space and galaxies hurtling through space.
The preview images give an idea of what to expect and the loading time for both music and video are quite quick regarding the large file size. The quality of the video files is outstanding as well, making the use of the app in full screen a joy.
By the way, there’s no need to jump from screen to screen to check out the available moods; simply use the swipe gesture to go back and forth between them. Also, the app behaves similar to the Music app. As long as you don’t close it, you can lock your iPhone by pressing the power button for a moment and still enjoy the music (and save some power due to the screen being turned off).
Since there are 30 different moods I can’t go into every one in detail, but some are really striking. For example, the one with the mountain range in the thunderstorm, complete with lightning illuminating dark clouds. Or the one where you think you’re sitting on a spring lawn, the birds singing around you and a the bees buzzing back and forth. Not to mention the cute video of animal babies with soothing piano music or the galactic animation with synth sounds hurling you from nebula to nebula.
Apart from the iPhone, you could also get the app for iPad to enjoy it on a big screen (unfortunately, Serenity is not a universal app) — but there’s no need if you are the proud owner of an Apple TV. Simply utilize AirPlay and put the stunning videos on your HDTV, then play the sounds through your stereo system.
Set a Timer For Your Break
No matter if you are intending to take a quick break from work or lull yourself to sleep, a handy timer within the app allows you to specify a time when your iPhone will fall asleep, or rouse your from your refreshing break.
Simply select one of the moods and then use the scroll wheel selector to set a time. Anything from a short lunch break to a multi-hour sleep relaxation works.
If you use Serenity for a specific purpose, you can also just set the timer from the overview (at the bottom of your screen) and have it applied every time you start a mood.
One tidbit I came across rather by accident is a “hidden” screen before the one that appears when you open the app. If you slide your finger to the right, you will reveal a yin-yang symbol with three black stones.
While you can’t rake the sand the symbol is made of (wouldn’t that be a nice touch?), you can place the stones in different spots and even put them on top of each other. Nothing really mindblowing, but a nice playful touch nonetheless.
Serenity for iPhone takes you on a vacation every time you start the app. You can chose many different destinations, but most, if not all, will help you forget what’s around you and focus on what matters — may that be a task at hand or simply your pleasure.
While the video and audio are of very high quality, I wish there were some more nature sounds, especially with some of the beautiful videos of flowery fields, for example. I’d just expect something other than synthesized sounds with visuals like that; even piano music would be better here.
But then again, taste is something that differs greatly and Serenity has some wonderful video/audio combinations. Add to that the AirPlay support, and you have an app that can help to set the mood for whatever you have in mind.
What are your experiences with apps like this? Do you use them regularly or do you have other methods to relax? Let us know in the comments.