For years I have been waking to the sound of a ship under attack – or perhaps taking on water. An alarm that is so truly annoying and invasive that it could double as a fire alarm for most educational settings. However, after 4 or more years of conditioning, my annoyance with the standard iPhone alarm has dissipated. The alarm I once hated to love, is subject to three or four snooze cycles every morning. Effectively, it has been rendered inneffective by way of desensitization. That was before I found Wake N Shake Alarm Clock on the App Store.
Wake N Shake piqued my interest for one very simple feature – it requires a high level of engagement – shaking your iPhone with intensity – if you’d ever like your alarm to subside. By the time you are able to turn your alarm off, the intense activity will have stimulated your system to the point that returning to your bed for a snooze session is out of the question. Good morning sunshine!
As evident already, Wake N Shake is not your typical alarm clock. Aside from the shaking required of you, the application uses Facebook integration to enable social achievements, stats and a leaderboard of sorts called the “Weekly Ladder.” Though these features are somewhat unique in this space, and worth mentioning, I want to circle back to it after discussing ways in which this application stands on its own as an alarm clock. That said, let’s have look at how this thing works.
As you can see from the screen shots above, Wake N Shake Alarm Clock packs a minimalist interface, clean and free of clutter. The color scheme is simple and pleasing, especially if you are viewing or setting your alarm in the dark. The entire interface is gesture driven and it seems very intuitive to me, once I un-learned the old habits I had developed with the standard Clock.app. In my experience, Wake N Shake has been easy to navigate and responsive in every way. Added bonus for the cute and friendly animations the alarm icon will cycle through. I feel like I know him (or her) already and subsequently I have conjured up a friendship between the two of us. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
The main screen has three essential functions:
- Count down until your next alarm is triggered
- Time Display
- Quick timer/Nap alarm
The default display is a count down until your next alarm is triggered. For instance, 15h 30m 40s will display at 5:30pm if your alarm is set for 9am. I love the count down display for two reasons – the first being that I can always open the app as I am working late at night to serve as a reminder of when I should begin winding down to get a desired amount of sleep. A lot of times I look at a clock and lie to myself, telling myself I have plenty of time for good rest. There’s no lying to numbers and Wake N Shake makes quick work of my lies. I also love the count down for its important information at a glance, should I wake up in the middle of the night. Let’s face it, if I wake up at 3am, I don’t want to know what time it is – I want to know how many hours I have left to sleep. Wake N Shake excels at this.
To access the time display, just tap the number display one time. To return to the count down, tap again.
To set a one-off quick timer or alarm, useful for naps, tap the number display twice and drag the number fields to the desired amount. 1 To activate the timer, just tap the number display again.
Setting Scheduled & Recurring Alarms
As I mentioned, the Wake N Shake interface is gesture driven, so all settings and feature panels are accessible with a single swipe, albeit different directions for different panels. For setting your scheduled alarms, swipe to the left (or pull the main screen to the left) to reveal a gray panel void of any information other than a minimalist alarm clock icon begging to be tapped. Don’t be creepy. Tapping the panel will generate an alarm that defaults to 8:00am, ready to be customized to your needs. To set the hour, tap the hour field and use the awesome, custom tumblers to adjust it. Do the same for minutes. To switch between AM and PM just tap that field one time. To set the days in which this scheduled alarm should sound, tap on the days, listed horizontally, below the time. If you have fingers a bit chubbier than the average, you may find this tricky but it’s doable.
To add a second alarm, a weekend alarm perhaps, just tap the panel again and repeat. You can presumably set as many alarms as you’d like (I made it to 30 and stopped) though I am not sure why you would need more than 7 – 10 at the most – for scheduled alarms. Then again, I lead a pretty routine lifestyle that has me out of bed and back in it at roughly the same time every day. The lesson here, I’m quite boring.
Activating, deactivating and deleting alarms was a bit curious for me but I quickly figured it out. Swipe the desired alarm to the right to activate or deactivate it and to the left to delete it. The simplicity is obvious in hindsight but again, I had to un-learn some old habits.
Once your alarms are set and you are ready to go to bed (or whatever it is you do) you must leave your phone unlocked and turn it face down. Wake N Shake utilizes the iPhone’s proximity sensor to shut the screen off to avoid battery drain. To date, I have had zero issues with battery when using Wake N Shake overnight.
Setting Alarm Sounds & Shake Intensity
If you have yet to get the picture, Wake N Shake requires its user to shake the daylights out of their iPhone to turn off a triggered alarm. Thankfully, shake intensity can be customized. Ranging from “Teddy Bear” to “Merciless,” you can access shake settings and alarm sounds by swiping up from the main screen.
Choosing an alarm is quite fun. Wake N Shake ships with 24 custom sounds, all of which are fantastic. I am currently using “Hungry Bear” which sounds like you’d expect – a hungry bear growling as it chases after a screaming girl. It does the trick for me in the morning. Other, not so violent, alarms are available too. Instruments, toys, animals, and even your own personal Robot.
“Wake up and shake the iPhone. Can you smell the pancakes? No? Well, wake up and go make some. And some coffee. And how about some french toast? You know I love french toast. That’s right, me, your iPhone.”
Needless to say, there are a few nuggets of humor baked in to the alert settings. If you have stored music in your iPhone’s native music app, you can choose a song from your library to alert you as well. It’s a bit less fun but options are always nice.
As for shake intensity, I would really suggest setting quick timers to explore the different levels. The thing to remember is that you must shake the phone until a progressive meter reaches the top of your phone’s screen. Each time you stop shaking, you are penalized as the meter will begin to drop. The “Merciless” setting literally requires two hands for me and a shaking so intense, for 45 seconds, that I am slightly out of breath and almost breaking a sweat. Yes – it’s that intense. No, I am not exaggerating. The “Teddy Bear” setting, on the other hand, I can turn off by shaking with very low intensity – similar to that of the iPhone’s undo action – for 10 seconds. Choose a setting that will be challenging but stay away from settings too intense, that may create an aversion to using the application.
A link to the Wake N Shake Manual and a toggle for a vibrate option can be found on this panel as well.
There is one. Swipe down from the main screen.
Currently, there is one option for signing in to interact with others and that is through Facebook. Since FB boasts a billion users, it’s likely a good choice. I used the social aspect of the application only briefly with my wife. I would imagine this could be a lot more fun with a larger group of friends.
Signing in through Facebook enables achievements that you work towards every time you successfully mute a triggered alarm via shaking, quick timers excluded. Achievements such as
Shake on Cold Shower intensity 10 times.
Simultaneously, you are competing against any friends who are also using the application and your achievements are visible to them from the social panel. So far, I have 1,287 shake points, 3/50 achievements and I have placed 1st on the leaderboard because my wife isn’t being a good sport2. It’s a fresh take on waking up in the morning by making it a fun, social competition of sorts. I really like the idea, I just wish I had more friends using the app. Looks like I’ll be sending lots of requests via FB. I apologize in advance for those on that list.
Wake N Shake is not for everyone. Some will find it requires too much hard labor. However, some of us will find it necessary and along the way realize how much fun it can be to use an alarm clock. I seriously never thought I’d say that. Wake N Shake is a winner in my eyes. It’s beautiful, well planned, well executed and it solves a problem that many of us have – snooze-button syndrome. Since installing and using Wake N Shake, I have not snoozed once. I wake up and that’s that. Ready to start my day. It’s a fantastic application that I cannot praise enough. If you think you might love it too, don’t hesitate to purchase. Supporting awesome ideas only ensures that even more awesome ideas follow. Many thanks to Andres for changing the way I use my alarm clock.
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