Wake is a new smart alarm clock app for iPhone [review]

Whether you’re a heavy sleeper or are just bored of the standard iOS apps, you may well be looking for a new alarm clock, of which there are many upon many in the iTunes store. However, you might want to consider an app called Wake. This is a new app for the iPhone which brings an intelligent design, both aesthetically, and dynamically to the humble alarm clock genre.


Wake’s user interface is almost unnervingly simplistic. The main interface consists of a clock surrounded by a coloured circle. Fortunately, there are short text hints at how to use the application, such as “Spin the dial to set an alarm”. Sure enough as soon as you start running your finger over the circular perimeter in a clockwise direction, the time will start advancing to when the alarm will chime. Similarly, you can correct by running your finger around the clock anti-clockwise. There is a tick and cross at the top of the screen to accept or reject the alarm time.


You can set multiple alarms too – to review them simply swipe downwards, and they’ll all appear (in different colours) at the top of the screen. A long press on any will reveal cross marks that let you delete the alarms. Also, tapping on any alarm lets you edit it, including changing the chime (from a choice of four) and setting which days of the week the alarm should recur on).


My first reaction at the multiple alarms is that I wanted to be able to set titles for them. However, this isn’t a practical option for Wake as it is constrained by the limitation of iOS. Wake can only function while in the foreground, and so having a reminder come from the background isn’t going to happen with this app – you’ll need to stick with the built-in Clock app for that.


What the user interface doesn’t indicate is that there are sideways gestures. Swipe to right and you’ll but the app into “Night Mode”, which is a dimmed screen mode, for when you leave the app running over night. As indicated above, you have to leave this app running over night for it to work. If you go to the homescreen or switch to another app, Wake will pop up a notification reminding you that it must be running in the foreground.


A swipe to the leave reveals the app’s settings, which in turn reveal its three ingenious wake and snooze options. The first option, is the “Slap and flip” mode, where (in your presumably sleepy haze) slap the iPhone’s screen for it to snooze for ten minutes (or whatever you chose on the settings screen). To turn the alarm off altogether, turn the iPhone over on its face – this employs the phone’s accelerometer to note which way up it is.


The second method is “Shake to wake” – here there’s no snooze method, you have to shake, and shake, and shake the phone until the alarm stops. You can set the level of shaking in the options screen. Then screen is filled by a light-blue colour as you shake the phone, indicating how much further you have to go to disable the alarm. By the time you’re done shaking the phone, you’re well and truly awake!


The final option is “Swipe” – this option require a little more of your faculties when initially wake up as swiping up will put the alarm into snooze mode and swiping down will disable the alarm. It’s up to you whether you think you have the memory or coordination to do that when you first wake up in the morning. Personally, I need the shake-to-wake mode!

Wake will normally cost $3, but is currently in the iTunes app (download) store for $2 to celebrate its launch. If you need an advanced alarm clock, I recommend this one as, unlike many alarm apps this one involves some real physicality, which is helpful if you’re a heavy sleeper.