Alarm Clock apps for iPhone

Q: Thanks for your review on the iHome+Sleep app. However, there is something I haven’t seen covered anywhere, including in your review. Is the app usable with other alarm clocks, or JUST the IA5/IA100? The most impressive, useful and appealing feature for me is the ability to set custom alarms. My work schedule does not follow the standard weekdays/weekends that most 5+2 or 7+5+2 alarm clocks follow. So having the ability to set an alarm for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays but NOT Sundays, Mondays and Fridays (for example) is the most helpful feature of the app, with the sleep cards. The problem is, the IA5 is not appealing to me at all, from a hardware standpoint, and while the IA100 looks much better (both in terms of layout and hardware), I’m afraid it will be overkill for my needs. So, the question is, will the iHome+Sleep app work with other alarm clocks and docks, particularly the alarm feature…either other iHome clocks/docks, or other brands in general? I would greatly appreciate it if you have any info about this!

– Matthew

A: Although the iHome+Sleep app is designed to be used with iHome’s app-enabled alarm clocks, it also works as a standalone app in which case it simply begins playing your alarm sound at the scheduled time. You will need to ensure that the app is left running before you go to bed as it does not yet provide any background notification support, but this would be the case even if you’re using it with iHome’s app-enabled speakers as the app cannot be triggered by an external accessory due to Apple’s SDK restrictions.

Without the iA5 or iA100 speakers, the iHome+Sleep app works in much the same way as any other iPhone alarm app and as long as it’s running will play your scheduled alarms at the appropriate time, either through the iPhone’s own speaker or through whatever other speakers are attached. If you’re docking with a speaker system you simply need to ensure that the speakers are on and the app is running before you go to bed and when the alarm goes off in the morning it should sound through the speakers.

Note that if you’re simply looking for an alarm that can be scheduled to repeat on specific days of the week you may want to just check out the iPhone’s own Clock app, which offers this capability and has the advantage of running in the background so that it goes off regardless of whether you leave the app running or not. While not as flexible as the iHome+Sleep app in terms of sleep timers, alarm sounds and snooze times, the Clock app will allow you to choose one or more weekdays to repeat and allow you to use any built-in or custom ringtone as your alarm sound and also includes a basic sleep timer function.

Alarm Clock apps for iPhone 2

Note that with the release of iOS 4 several third-party apps are now providing background alarm capabilities as well, although in many cases not all of these apps’ normal features are available when using background alarms due to limitations of the background notification APIs in the iPhone OS.