Wake Up With iHome+Sleep

In the twelve months that the iPad has been available, Apple has not seen it fit to supply an alarm clock for the iPad. Nevertheless, many users (myself included) use their device as an alarm clock – it’s especially enjoyable to utilise that nice big speaker that the iPad has!

There’s many a clock App available for your devices, one of them being the recently-updated iHome+Sleep app from the self proclaimed ‘experts on alarm clocks’. This particular App provides a customizable alarm manager and clock, while also including the ability to wake to your iPod library. Let’s dive in…

Core Features

At its core, iHome+Sleep is an alarm clock App. It’s refreshing, however, that iHome’s free App does a lot more than you’d expect.

The App’s homescreen has three main panels. The first is the clock itself that displays the current time. This communicates with the bottom half of the screen where you can set alarms. Setting an alarm is pretty easy, just tap the plus sign and then edit. Editing is a lot more advanced than other apps, you can set times and repeats but also snooze time and bedtime/wakeup sounds.

The bedtime and wakeup sounds allow you to set custom music (or anything in your podcast library) to go to sleep or to wake up with. When waking up you have the option to be joined by either alarm tones, radio, or other media from your iPod library. I love this feature as it’s what I normally do with my outgoing alarm clock app, but using the iPod App’s multitasking.

You can even program an audio podcast to play with the accompany sleep timer set, so you can peacefully drift off.

iHome+Sleep is an alarm clock at heart.

I tested the alarm normally and, as I expected, the loud buzzer went off with the option to either pull the wakeup slider or tap the snooze button. If I pulled the wakeup slider, any predetermined wake up events (for example, a scheduled twitter message) would occur. If I chose to snooze, the sound would stop and I’d be alerted again in 9 minutes (the amount of snooze time can be set in the alarm’s settings).

This wider feature set is great! I love the ability to send Twitter or Facebook messages either as you go to bed, or as you wake.

To activate my go-to-sleep playlist, I simply have to pull the bedtime slider across and allow the screen to dim. When I wake up (either early, or to the sound of the buzzer), I only need to drag the same slider, now renamed ‘Wakeup’.

How Did I Sleep?

An really interesting feature included in this App is the ability to actually track your sleep depending on when you pull the slider. Every time you use the App you record your sleep pattern with information like bedtime time, wakeup time, and duration. iHome then averages out the results and tells you how much sleep you’re getting per day.

iHome+Sleep also tracks your snoozes and can be filtered according to time.

For insomniacs, or anyone with a particularly hectic lifestyle, this data can be invaluable. Oh, and can I remind you that this is a free app.

How did I sleep?

Overnight News

I don’t know about you, but whenever I wake up I always head to the Twitter App on my iPad to check what I’ve missed during the last 8 or so hours. Overnight News is there to fix that problem by showing you exactly what you’ve missed since you last announced to the app you were sleeping.

Think of the bedtime/wakeup slider as a clocking in device as you might use at your workplace. You check-in when you are going to sleep and check-out as you wake up. As iHome records the duration of your ‘stay’, it can pull your Twitter and Facebook feeds for that time duration. This again is an invaluable, and unique, feature.

The downside is that Overnight News can take a little while to load up. I’d advise sliding the wakeup slider, having a shower, and then returning to the App over breakfast. The other downside is that you can’t follow links, which is a definite shame.

iHome Enhanced Devices

For the uninitiated, iHome is also one of the leaders in docking solutions for iOS-powered devices. iHome’s iA5, iA100 and iD85 are all ‘App-enhanced devices’ that can co-operate and communicate with this App. These devices work with the App to provide a uniquely synchronised system – you can play the wakeup alert through iHome’s on-board speakers, making it even harder to ignore!

Setting up iHome

The iA5 iPhone/iPod dock actually includes hard buttons for both wakeup and bedtime, the physicality of which may appeal to some people.

Final Thoughts

iHome+Sleep is a great App to use by itself, and is even better when used in unison with their hardware. The App itself is rich in functionality and offers an amazing list of features unseen on free apps before. Obviously the push here is to get you to buy iHome hardware. It must be said, however, that the push in this context is fairly light, there are no intrusive ads or limits placed on functionality.

iHome is an amazing example of the advantages of free apps. Developers put a significant amount of effort into them because they work well as a advertising tool for hardware devices, but there’s no hard sell. On a side note it’s worth mentioning that after using the App I’m honestly more inclined to purchase their hardware – iHome must be doing something right!

Have you used iHome+Sleep? Do you own any iHome devices? Could this revolutionise your bedtime routine? Let us know in the comments!


Summary

iHome+Sleep is in incredibly feature-rich alarm clock for the iPad that offers amazing integration with iHome's App enhanced products.

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