iHome’s fame is built on its old iPod-dock alarm clocks, but the latest iteration of those clocks turns to another major tech product to stand out: Alexa.
The new clock from iHome, called the iAVS16, includes a 10-watt speaker, far-field microphones for always-on listening, an LCD display for telling the date, time, and weather, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for streaming music. There’s also a built-in USB port so you can connect a charging cable for your phone.
It sounds like owners will be able to use pretty much the full suite of Alexa commands, save those exclusive to Echo devices. One interesting twist here is that all alarm functions are handled by Alexa, too. You’ll set alarms by asking Alexa or going through a companion app, and you’ll be able to control the alarm with phrases like, “Alexa Snooze.” Hopefully this doesn’t mean your alarm needs an active internet connection to work.
Like Amazon’s Echo, iHome’s alarm clock also includes a ring of light to signal what’s new with Alexa — only instead of a small ring of light, the entire bottom rim of the device is a big glowing strip. iHome says it’ll be good for “mood lighting,” but I’m not quite convinced.
I assume you’ll be able to dim the light at night, but it’s hard to tell just from looking at it: there are 14 different buttons on top of the alarm clock, and I’m not sure what four of them do (some look like they belong on a PlayStation controller). A couple of them appear to be customizable, so that you can set buttons to trigger specific actions, like having Alexa read out the weather.
There’s one other button that I like a lot: there’s a big long “zzz” strip in front of everything else, which snoozes the alarm and looks like it’ll be really easy to hit while half asleep.
It’s not clear that this will be an amazing speaker, but it still makes a ton of sense to build Alexa into a clock like this. People already want bedside clocks, and integrating Alexa into one makes it easier for someone who already has an Echo to bring Amazon’s voice assistant into yet another room. The product is supposed to launch soon and sell for $149.99, putting it at the top of iHome’s alarm clock range.