Rock around the Dock Clock

Remember my roundup of iPad clock apps a little over a month ago? Well, there was one app that I left out, but shouldn't have -- Dock Clock (US$1.99). There were a lot of readers who pointed out the app to me, so I decided to take a look.

Created by developer Dariusz Halko, Dock Clock is an iPad clock app that provides multiple alarms, skinning, weather forecasts, and moon phases. One feature I love is that you can set a "dim at night" period to keep the app from lighting up your bedroom while you're trying to sleep. The brightness level can vary from "who needs a nightlight?" to "barely visible," so it's extremely helpful in making sure that the iPad is visible enough to read but not so bright as to keep bed partners awake. That's important, since at this time, all iPad clock apps need to remain open and running for alarms to go off.

I'm extremely nearsighted, so my first test of the app was to see if the numbers were large enough for me to read without my glasses. In my favorite skin ("LCD") the numbers are over 1.5 inches tall, so I had no problems reading them. I found that the blinking colon between the hours and minutes was disturbing to my attempts to sleep, as were the seconds counting away. A tap on the screen brings up the settings, and I was able to shut off "blink dots" and "show seconds" quickly.


The alarm sounds are fun as well, including a ringing mechanical alarm clock, a Cuckoo clock, the default sound of a beeping electronic alarm clock, a piano playing a sprightly Latin tune, a string quartet playing an insistent wakeup song, a jazz band playing (this is Swing City from GarageBand's jingles), Tower Bell (which is identical to Bell Tower on the iPhone's alarms), Vintage Watch (sounds like an old digital watch playing "Dixie"). Here's where Dock Clock could be improved by allowing customers to use any song in their music library as an alarm sound.

There are four different skins available for the clock: Blue, which features white letters on a blue background; the LCD skin that I like; Note, which has a handwritten look and Sunset, which has the time floating in a gorgeous sunset. I'd like to see more skins for the app, or possibly a skin designer built into Dock Clock.

For two bucks, Dock Clock is a welcome addition to the iPad clock app world.