Now that the iPhone's built-in Clock app has suffered two alarm-hindering hiccups, some users are ready for an alternative. Sure, Apple says the latest issue, affecting non-recurring alarms set for January 1 and 2 of 2011, will be "fixed" as of January 3. However, some of us here at TUAW experienced the problem again this morning, and others are just sick of the shenanigans.
Fortunately, we've reviewed a number of alarm clock apps for the iPhone over the years, and we present the best here for your consideration (all prices are USD).
We last looked at Awaken 1.2 for iPhone. Today it has matured to version 1.9 with support for iOS 4.2, the iPad and more. With iOS 4.2, Awaken supports local notifications for alarms, so the app needn't be running in order to wake you. Both the iPad and iPhone versions offer multiple clock faces to choose from, with an additional photo frame option that's unique to the iPad. An alarm can trigger either your favorite iTunes track or one of the app's built-in sounds. You'll also find a sleep timer and a flashlight feature, for those late-night sojourns beyond your bed.
Originally exclusive to jailbroken iPhones, EasyWakeup hit the App Store in March of 2009. Today it's available in two iterations: EasyWakeup Classic ($4.99) and EasyWakeup Pro ($9.99). Both versions offer its most unique feature. EasyWakeup can be set to rouse you at the optimal time of restful recuperation by monitoring your night movements. When placed upon a mattress, EasyWakeup uses a special algorithm to measure "mattress vibration." Once it's determined that you've acquired the amount of rest your body needs, it wakes you.
Other features include graphs of your sleep movement data (portrait and landscape), access to the iPod library, automatic volume control (the app increases volume on its own) and their "warranty of awakening." The pro version adds a dream diary, countdown mode, customizable fade-in settings and random alert sound mode.
Playlist Alarm Clock
Playlist Alarm Clock (our review) lets you create two playlists: one for falling asleep and one for waking up. Create the lists with the app or with iTunes. You can even identify existing playlists if you like. Once you've assembled your "sleep" playlist, determine how much time you'd like to pass (in minutes) before the music fades out. When creating a "wake" list, determine how quickly (in seconds) the music should fade in. It isn't necessarily a new idea, but well-implemented. Playlist Alarm Clock costs $0.99.
While not specifically an alarm clock app, Ambiance ($2.99) offers over 1,000 free, exclusive sounds meant to lull you to sleep, rouse you from bed or otherwise "enhance your environment." In fact, I've been falling asleep to Ambiance for well over a year now.
To get started, select a sound from the app's huge library, which has an App Store feel. Once that's done, set the fade out or fade in durations, the time you'd like to be awakened and let it go. There's a snooze option, of course, and a vibrate mode for extra heavy sleepers. Plus, you can "mix" sounds to create custom audio soundscapes.
What about the iPad?
Those wishing to wake to their iPads are in luck. Apple failed to provide an alarm clock app for the magical device, but others have, including NightStand HD, Clock Pro HD, Touch LCD - Designer Speaking Clock and the cruel Math Clock. You'll find descriptions of those and more in our full round-up of alarm clock apps for the iPad.
What about the Mac?
Have Apple's miscues prompted you to go "back to the Mac" for your alarm clock needs? We understand. Check out our head-to-head comparison of Alarm Clock 2, Alarm Clock Pro, Awaken for Mac and Aurora.
We're sure you'll find something you like. The bad news is you'll never be able to use "My alarm clock failed!" as an excuse again.