iHome dubs its iA5 an "app-enhanced" alarm clock, which is exactly what it sounds like: this unit is designed to work with iHome's iPhone app, which means you probably shouldn't bother reading this review unless you have an iPhone or iPod Touch to connect to its dock.
From a design standpoint, the iA5 isn't terribly distinguished-looking, but it looks attractive enough with a speaker/dock system that slants back and leaves your iPhone or iPod Touch sitting in a lightly reclined position. The speaker is a little deeper and bigger than you'd think looking at it from the front, measuring 3.9 inches high by 5.83 inches wide by 9.34 inches deep. In other words, if you have a small nightstand, adding the iA5 won't leave a lot of spare room.
On its own--without a compatible Apple device connected to it--the iA5 has little in the way of features. There's no AM/FM radio and there's just a single alarm (on the connectivity front, you do get an auxiliary input for connecting other devices), but there is a separate time display to the left of the iPhone dock, so you always know the time. However, once you download the free iHome app from the App Store--it's called iHome + Sleep--and dock your iPhone in the iA5, things get a lot more interesting. You suddenly have a very feature-rich clock radio that has a touch-screen display (you can sync the time on your iPhone with the time on the iA5's display with a touch of a button).
One of the app's primary attributes is the ability to set various alarms using "sleep cards" that can be swapped in and out of a virtual punch-card system. These alarms can be set to go off on certain days, so you can easily set up weekday and weekend alarm schedules or even special nap times.
Beyond that, the app has integrated weather updates (the app automatically displays a stripped-down version of the weather forecast from the Weather Channel based on your location, or you can set your location manually) and you can even set the app to automatically post messages to your Twitter and Facebook accounts when you wake up or go to sleep. We're not sure you're going to want or need all the options that are available, but it's kind of cool that there's so much here.
The app also keeps statistics of what times you wake up at, how many times you hit the snooze bar, and what songs you like to wake to most frequently. You can adjust such things as bass and treble on the unit itself (yes, there are some buttons), but you can make those same adjustments from within the iPhone app, as well as fine-tune other settings. (Note: you can use the app with other iPod speakers but some functions, such as the stat keeping, will be disabled, though the alarms will work just fine).