Sometimes it's good to take a step back and admire the small things in life. We all know the details matter, but we take so much for granted. Case in point: your alarm clock.
What a boring gadget. It's sole purpose is to pull you from the depths of a cozy slumber, to absorb its weight in unfiltered hatred and well-aimed smacks to the sleep button. That poor little plastic guy doesn't get a lot of love. And I got no defense for that.
So here's where the experience comes in. I've mentioned before how picky I am. All I ever want is a choice, and those plastic devil boxes never let me wake up the way I wanted to.
Enter the iPhone.
I know it's fanboyish and clichéd but the iPhone is a game changer in so many little corners of our world. Check this out:
With Alarm Clock Pro I can set the sweetest, gentlest song in my playlist, ascend that volume over 1, 2, 5, 10 minutes. I can set up songs to play randomly. I can choose from some very nice sounding stock alarms. Infinite multiple alarms? Yeah. Giant snooze button that is programmable? Yeah. Gesture-based dimming? Of course. How about the 'shake-to-activate' flashlight feature that's nice when your kids lose teddy behind their beds at 4am?
Oh, and it cost me a dollar.
I know that it's weird that I'm freaking out over an alarm clock app, but this is what defines a great user experience for me. Let me do stuff MY way. I'm picky, I'm weird, I'm a princess, whatever, just don't assume that I want my snooze button to be set to 7 minutes. Let me choose the colors, the brightness, the songs and how you play them.
And in the year of owning it, there have been several major updates. Let me say that another way. I bought an alarm clock last year and it was good. Now it does a whole bunch of other stuff. My alarm clock keeps getting smarter. That leaves all those plastic boxes in the dust.
If how we interact with apps can redefine something so basic, so hated as the alarm clock, that's pretty cool. We used to be surrounded by gadgets, cell phones, mp3 players, alarm clocks, gps units, remote controls, calculators, address books, notebooks, wristwatches, cameras. Now there's one that does a damn good job at doing all those things, in some cases better than the original.
Okay, gotta go. I'm due to be gently awakened in a few hours.