I was lucky enough to get a hands-on peak at iHome’s new iPhone/iPod App which will be free for everybody. The integration into their iA5 and iA100 alarm clock speakers was outstanding. Seriously. The app, iHome+Sleep, is positioned as a beefed up alarm clock with a phenomenal user interface. Before I get to the application I will explain the integration. When iPhone is plugged into the dock of either speaker sets you can adjust their settings. You can change the time (or sync it to your iPhone time), change the display/brightness, and adjust EQ settings. On to the application (which I got pretty excited about)…it is optimized to work with the iA5 and iA100, but it is by no means any less usable without the devices.
The home screen of the application is a large clock and a graphical view of weather. Also there is a small status box of your alarms and schedule. Alarms are extremely customizable. You can set up a variety of rules. Wake up to some loud rock music on Monday at 8am and wake up to some relaxing indy music on Saturday at 10am. You can set iTunes playlists to play directly from the app. There is also a gentle wake alarm that will gradually get louder. If you want to listen to some music before you go to sleep you can easily set a sleep timer. Don’t worry about going to sleep with the volume on low, because you can set the alarm volume to always be loud. iHome+Sleep will log when you go to sleep (you must set this) and when you wake up. It keeps a running log of your sleeping behaviors, logging hours slept per night and per week, average number of snoozes, favorite music to fall asleep to and more. If you’re just waking up, press a button and view all the news you missed while you were sleeping.
If you can’t incorporate social media into your life enough while you’re awake, then try it out while you’re sleeping—share wakeup and bedtime status updates automatically (although if I’m following your feed I would kind of prefer you to not do this). So that is iHome+Sleep wrapped up in a nutshell. Currently the app is mid-approval process so we should be seeing it shortly.
The iA5 had some pretty good audio, it sounded better than a bunch of iPod speakers I’ve heard this week at CES. It will be priced at $99 and should be available relatively soon. The iA100 is the premium model and will be released at a later date. iA100 incorporates Bluetooth which means the iPhone does not need to be docked to play music and wake up to music alarms. Also you can use the iA100 as a Bluetooth speakerphone to make and receive phone calls (phone keypad included). It even has a backup system where it saves your alarm settings. If your iPhone cannot be found via Bluetooth it will still wake you up, but with a generic alarm. iA100 plays AM/FM radio and can be used as an alarm too. I did not get to hear the iA100, but I know it includes their Bongiovi Power Station real-time DSP (Wednesdays acronym-of-the-day: Digital Signal Processing), which scans audio and restores details lost through compression. This was a very impressive feature and made music sound better even to those lacking the audiophile ear. This will be priced at $199 with no word on when. We’re crossing our fingers at Chip Chick that we’ll get to demo one of these products soon!