iMusiClock in Review – Time to smell the Coffee!

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Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 has deepened the digital waters in which apps get to splash around. For this reason, several apps have ticked into the App Store that promise to restore grace into getting out of bed. At 99 cents, iMusiClock is and inexpensive enough  attempt at making a truly great alarm clock/sleep timer for everyone who is sick of Apple’s robot. While it makes good on the music portion of its name, how does it fare as an alarm?

Unfortunately for developers, Apple’s OS still lacks background app functionality, so a non-Apple alarm must be in focus (open) in order to run. Exiting the app will deny the app its most important function: getting you out of bed. Any current app that says it will get you out of bed and to work on time must first be set up, then left on. Otherwise, you will blissfully sleep through your redundancy.

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iMusiClock is a very simple app, Spartan in design and yet easy to use. It consists of two major features: alarm and sleep mode. Sleep mode, like AlarmTunes‘ preview mode, plays music from your library, but unlike AlarmTunes, adds the a function for users to set the length of sleep in 5 minute intervals. Both Sleep and Alarm functions activate at 100% volume after which, you can set volume to a more reasonable level.

Alarm is as simple as it gets – which may be a selling point in and of itself. However, the biggest detractor to this simplicity is the competition from McLean Mobile’s AlarmTunes which, still simple, gives the user much better control over every app function.

Sadly, both apps lack labels and scheduling; iMusiClock even one-ups its rival by supplying only one space for alarm, emulating even further, the simplicity of a plastic clock. If the trenchant aim of the above comment is not immediately apparent, let me put it this way: what in the hell? Why not make use of the iDevice and add functions that would elevate this app from above its low-reaching position? Not even the main screensare well labelled. In AlarmTunes, current time is always the most evident part of the display, but in iMusiClock, it is the set alarm or sleep time. In order to check the actual time, you will have to get up, pick up the iDevice and get your specs on in order to see the tiny iPhone OS finder bar label. Similarly, currently playing music isn’t labelled, rather just its containing organisational filing structure.

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Like AlarmTunes, iMusiClock’s music functions are great. You have access to your entire iTunes Library (or however much you managed to  stuff into your iDevice), even playlists and podcasts. Despite this, iMusiClock should not be used with headphones and certainly not with earphones. Every alarm and sleep timer are accompanied by 100% volume which is painfully loud and dangerous. The only way to set output volume this is through external amplification, or rock the volume down after either the alarm or sleep have been activated. There is also an output bug that is noticeable via headphones. A random static chirp haunts the app in between blasts of music. For these reasons, AlarmTunes scores another win over Tomer’s app.

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AlarmTunes was held back by a few bugs and the lack of scheduling, but iMusiClock feels more like a first project. It is nice enough to look at, but hardly handy as a music alarm. The big omission is its lack of scheduling and labels, but smaller problems arise when compared to its superior, yet equally priced competition, AlarmTunes. Sound output needs a volume selector as it is too loud, making the app unusable for headphone use; the intermittent output chirping is similarly annoying and important functions of any clock are missing, like easily visible time display. Fortunately, iMusiClock works well regarding its ‘musiC’ progeny, but it is too little, too late, and in comparison to AlarmTunes, flounders as an alarm/clock app.

iMusiClock gets Slapped by TouchMyApps.

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App Summary
Title:iMusiClock (V 1.1)Developer:Tomer
Price:$0.99App Size:0.4 MB
  • Simple interface
  • Plays music well
  • No labels; no scheduling
  • Only one alarm spot
  • No volume control
  • Current time and music selection are not legibly displayed

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