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Review: Summarise – Futuristic Talking Alarm Clock

Summarise is a personal talking alarm clock, but how does it hold up against other wake-up apps?

Apple’s built-in Clock app has a pretty straightforward, functional alarm clock; set a time, choose a ringtone and you’re away. For most people this is a perfectly adequate way to get up in the morning, but what if you wanted more from your wake-up call? Like, say, a futuristic robot butler gently waking you with fresh pastries and a personal update to prepare you for the day? That’s where Summarise comes in. Minus the pastries, unfortunately.


Choose the summary panels that are most important to you

This personal update is based on the user choosing the types of information they’re most interested in. The app will then read these snippets each morning in a cheery synthesized voice. It’s a little gimmicky, but it does feel futuristic.

Summarise can prepare you for the day ahead with a weather forecast and top overnight news stories. It can read your personal itinerary for the day, any important reminders and unread email. It can also let you know about Twitter activity and friends’ birthdays. When the daily summary is complete, the app leaves you with a friendly “have a nice day!”


Swiping to snooze or wake is a lot easier than tapping a button when you’re half-asleep

You can select from a small handful of alarm sounds or pick any song that’s loaded into the Music app on your iPhone. When the time comes in the morning and the alarm sounds, you’re given two options: swipe up to sleep, down to wake. If you hit wake the robot voice kicks in and hits you with your chosen information.

The app is free but some of the more useful panels – Calendar, Twitter and Birthdays – are hidden behind in-app purchases. What’s promising is that if you buy all three of them as a bundle for $2.99 you get free access to any more panels added in future. Assuming the developer continues to add content, this doesn’t feel like too much to ask.


Each panel can be checked any time, with the key points making it to the morning summary

Summarise could do with a little more customization options – for an app whose main selling point is to provide you a personal experience, there are disappointingly few settings. It would be nice to choose how long the snooze lasts for, or to be able to set recurring or multiple alarms. It’s a shame you can’t customize the panels a little more too, say, to have the app read more news stories or a more detailed weather report.

The developer has said that Summarise was inspired by the talking computer J.A.R.V.I.S. from Iron Man, and it’s hard not to feel a little like Tony Stark when greeted by a friendly digital assistant.


You can choose from a handful of different voices, but unfortunately not much else

The alarm clock experience hasn’t changed much in decades, despite technological advances. Summarise updates the formula for the modern information-driven age, allowing you to wolf down nuggets of data even before your morning cereal.

Overall Summarise still feels a little limited in scope, but it’s a fun idea with a lot of potential. Unless you find the idea of being woken by a robot inherently unsettling, this is a genuinely useful app that can only improve with a few choice updates. The future is (almost) here.

Price: Free ($2.99 for all features)
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 14.5MB
Developer: Project Dent

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