So I’m in a hotel room this morning, planning to sleep late, and I was awakened by the hotel room alarm clock at 7:00 am. It was dark. I hadn’t set it the night before, so I had no clue as to where the buttons and switches were positioned. I hammered on the top, I slid switches on the side, I seriously contemplated just smashing the damned thing against the wall, and it finally shut up… but it’s a helluva way to awaken. Then I had to turn on the light to figure out how to actually shut it off rather than just snooze it to come back and torment me in nine minutes.
I’ve hated alarm clock user interfaces for years. I don’t know why they’re so uniformly bad.
I have bought a dozen alarm clocks in pursuit of a decent one. I currently have an RCA RP3270 at home which is adequate, and certainly better than this hotel room POS, but still frustrating.
What if Apple built an alarm clock? (I’m assuming that you wouldn’t use a multi-touch display for cost reasons; otherwise, just use a stripped-down iPod Touch with an AC plug and no battery.)
Jonathan Ive could make it a test project for new hires. Design an alarm clock as if the human being on the other end mattered. Radio-synchronized to the atomic clock in Boulder; it’d be intentionally hard to override the synched time. You’d have an intelligent alarm-setting screen that made it obvious if you were setting the alarm for 7:00 am or 7:00 pm… not just a small dot in a random corner of the LED display. You’d have an iPod scroll wheel on the top that let you move the time forward and backwards easily and intuitively. Once things were set, you’d have gently glowing buttons on the top… yellow for “snooze” and red for “OK, I’m up now.” An iPhone charging dock, since you need to charge iPhones every night… and you could use the iPod functions to set your wake-up music. And so forth.
And it would cost $99. And, you know what? It would be worth it!