Of course, it's simple to use the iPhone's clock app to set a timer, and I was content with that for a long time. Then I came across Equanimity and have abandoned the clock. With great features like a journal, preparation and cool-down modes and a progress tracker, Equanimity has become a part of my daily routine.
First of all, it avoids images of lotus flowers, sunsets and Buddha statues. While nice, I find them less-than-useful in this situation since the whole idea is to ignore the app. Instead, it provides the simplest white interface. To begin a session, flip the app over. Select a preparation time (I use 30 seconds) and a cool down time if you like. This simply chimes once to let you know that you've got a pre-determined amount of time -- say, 1 minute -- to go.
Once that's done, flip the app back over. A summary of your session is displayed (see above) along with a button that reads "Start Meditation." The gong sounds and you've begun. If you chose to glance at the app while you sit, you'll notice that the circle gradually fills with grey as time progresses.
Once you're done, you're prompted to write about the day's session in the journal. From there, you can turn the iPhone on its side to view some stats on your meditation history (see an example in the gallery below), like recent sittings, number of consecutive sessions, total practice hours and amount of meditation done per month. It reminds me of the way Gas Cubby displays stats when the app is in landscape orientation, which I like very much.
At US$4.99, it's a great timer with super extras. I recommend it highly. Now go sit!