Clear Timer for iPhone (Free, optional upgrades available via in-app purchase) is interesting in light of iOS 7. It's a timer app with charming looks. There are big, chunky switches to toggle on and off and a click-y dial to spin. Several great-looking themes like the irresistible steam punk and sleek "Vader" add to the fun. But as the iOS goes (ugh, slap me for using this word), more "minimal," I wonder if developers will stop using skeuomorphic elements like these.
I sincerely hope not. Clear Timer is fun to use in part because of its looks. In this case, I like a kitchen timer that looks like a plastic, analog kitchen tool. Clear Timer's non-flat UI (Bumpy? What's the opposite here?) features switches to determine your timer's hour, minute and seconds settings. A dial ticks off the countdown and can also be swiped back and forth.
You can run several timers at once and assign each a custom name. A quick tap of the list view button (upper left-hand corner) provides a nice, legible list of the timers you've created.
There are little niceties, too. For instance, the hands on the dial timer contain the first letter of each timer's name, allowing you to keep track of several at once. Lastly, all of the menus from the preference screen to the settings are highly legible, even at a distance. I especially like that the introductory tutorial is always a tap away, should you forget how to do something.
Creating a timer is simple. Tap the "+" in the upper right-hand corner and then flip either the hour, minute or second toggle to assign those units a time. Once flipped, drag the the dial to your desired position and then tap the center button. The countdown begins.
You can quickly re-start buy tapping the restart button to the left of the toggle switches, or stop the timer by tapping the "X". To name your timer, tap the title field and enter whatever you like. The hand on the dial gains the first letter of your timer's name.
The "Victory" button at the bottom of the screen lets you pick the alert that will sound when your timer's complete. There are six default sounds to choose from, and a full 36 others available via in-app purchase (more on that in a bit).
Clear timer has a few more tricks up its sleeve. It runs in the background, of course, so feel free to switch back to that recipe app. You can re-use timers, which is very helpful. There's also a voice countdown mode available in several male or female voices.
There's a lot going on here. I mentioned the various alert sounds that are available. These are sold in two ways. Well, three.
First you can buy a sound pack for $0.99. A sound pack contains six related sounds. For instance, there's a "techno" sound pack, an "animals" sound pack and a "spirit" sound pack. There are six packs available for 36 sounds ready for purchase in total (in additional to the six that ship with the app). The sound bundle lets you buy all of those for $2.99, which is a good deal if you want the lot.
Themes work in a similar way. There's one default theme and six available for purchase. As with the sounds, themes can be had for $0.99 each or you can grab the lot for $2.99. The last purchase option is the "Pro" option, which lets you buy all sounds, themes and features (unlimited timers) for $4.99. That's not bad.
I like this app but it won't be for everyone. There's no Siri integration, so you can't tell Clear Timer, "Set a timer for 15 minutes." Plus, you flat-o-philes will balk at the buttons and toggles and dials and switches. The rest of you will find Clear Timer's looks to be a lot of fun, as I do. It's also quite useful with support for multiple timers, saved timers and background operation. The beautiful themes are icing on the cake. Clear Timer is available now for free.