During a recent spring cleaning, my wife and I wondered aloud why either of us needed an alarm clock on our nightstands.
After all, my iPhone and her iPod Touch both have a perfectly good alarm feature. What's more, the App Store is home to hundreds of alarm-clock apps--many of which are pretty slick.
With that in mind, here are four "alarming" apps that aim to make your mornings a little nicer:
1. Alarm Clock Free Just the basics. Alarm Clock Free lets you choose from an assortment of alarm sounds, any of which can "fade in" rather than blast at full volume. I especially like the oversize snooze/off buttons. The app doubles as a large LCD clock, great for folks who have nightstand iPod docks. Also, the 99-cent Pro version lets you wake up to a selected playlist, podcast, or even audiobook, rather than just generic sounds.
2. Public Radio App I've long been a fan of this public-radio-streaming gem, arguably the best in its class. Two features make it even more appealing: a sleep timer (so you can fall asleep to your favorite show) and an alarm (so you can wake up to, say, NPR's "Morning Edition"). Well worth the $2.99 price of admission.
3. Sleep Cycle I am NOT a morning person--perhaps because I'm waking up at the wrong time during my body's natural sleep cycles. The Sleep Cycle app analyzes your nighttime movements and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase, thus helping you feel more refreshed in the morning. Haven't tried it myself, but check out Jason Parker's Sleep Cycle review. For 99 cents, I might just give the app a whirl. (Note: This one's for iPhones only; the Touch is no longer supported.)
4. Wakeupcall.tv I'm not sure I understand the logic of an alarm app that plays a video, but I suppose it's a good choice for folks who immediately flip on the TV in the morning. Wakeupcall.tv streams a two-minute newscast by former "Daily Buzz" host Andrea Jackson. You can see the $1.99 app in action in the video below.
Before you go, however, hit the comments and let me know if you've found any other alarm apps you'd recommend!