swAlarm iPhone app a wakeup call that gets the job done

Nov 8, 2010

I know… Let’s talk about waking up in the morning! No one likes alarm clocks. So naturally, there are about as many types of alarm clocks as there are colors. I have three alarm clock applications on my iPhone – not including the native Clock app. However, I firmly believe you can never have too many alarm clocks. swAlarm by Project SW is just the alarm I was looking for to make No. 5. If you are a hard sleeper, like me, and want to take a quiz in the morning in order to shut off your blaring alarm clock, this might be the app for you, too.

When I first downloaded swAlarm, I wasn’t expecting anything special. Another alarm clock to add to the list. I was surprised by what I found on two accounts. When the app started, I found myself on a dark screen with the date at the top and a button that said “new setting.” There was no further explanation or direction.

So now you must be thinking, “well, Kyle, all you have to do is make a new alarm,” and you would be correct. However, there are functions within the alarm that made no sense, such as the “calculation” settings. I could not figure out what the gimmick of this app was. The experience was impersonal and frustrating simply because there is no interaction from the app. There is no “help” button or “about” button and because of this, I feel the developers are doing themselves a disservice. This was the first surprise.

The second surprise left a completely different taste in my mouth. After I did a little research, I discovered what this app was all about. Despite the fact that all of this information should be contained within the app itself, I liked what I found. There is a way to customize your alarm to require a series of calculations before you can silence the alarm. In addition, you can also start a playlist to wake you, then continue into other songs or podcasts that you might want to listen to in the morning – effectively customizing the soundtrack of your morning.

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So, despite the slow start, I actually like the app. I just wish the first impression was a bit warmer. If you want to explore the possibilities of your morning, I’d give swAlarm a try. Oh, and just to warn you, the calculations can be quite difficult. I can’t wait to try them at 6 a.m.

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