The Apps Your Docking Station Makes Sense With. Part 1. iOS
A docking station is the kind of accessory that you first don’t need at all and then can’t live without. The first iPhone generation had this piece in its original package, but then Apple freed up this place for third-party manufacturers.
Today we have a huge variety of docking stations on the market. There are simple stands with a charging connector, audio docks with built-in acoustics or a 3.5 output, double stands for two devices and much more.
But without special apps docking station is nothing but a charging holder. Still there are many scenarios for using your iDevice constantly charging and standing on your table or at your bed. The first devices required a physical connection to be joined with your computer, but today we’re just as good with the wireless connection.
We tried not to cover the whole variety of such apps. The ones represented below are just representatives of their classes. Maybe after some digging, you can find an analog that suits your needs or tastes better. Some of them are great for productivity; some others just make your everyday life easier.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find a free alternative to Dual Display app that sets your iPad as an expansion of your Mac or PC display. None of the similar apps has even an ad-supported edition.
Quick Alarm: Classic Analog Clock
OK, you’re sitting at your desk at home or in your office, your computer screen is filled with your work stuff, your browser, your office suite and so on. You’d need an analog clock to see the time at a quick glance, and that’s when out comes the docking station. Position it near your monitor and put your iPhone or iPad into it with Quick Alarm app always on. The app is optimized both for phone and for tablet screens.
Quick Alarm won’t drain your battery even with the screen on constantly, that’s what connectors are for. The full-screen mode will show you that beautiful Apple-style clock, so elaborate that it seems a part of iOS itself. You can set reminders within Quick Alarm, and it will play the selected tone at the appointed time.
Well, Quick Alarm is no Swiss Army multi-tool watch, it’s a clock and nothing more. But it’s beautiful and time-saving. The free version is crippled with ads a bit. It doesn’t affect the app’s functionality but the esthetical part is seriously injured if not killed. If this is crucial for you, there are some alternative with no ads, but with limited functionality in free versions, like the one below.
So, you’re back home from your work and want to go to bed. The docking station is a habit, and if you have one at your bedside, you can turn your iPhone or iPad into a beautiful neon-styled night clock.
Selectable skins can have an electronic, 80s-like, or analog appearance. Rich settings allow you to adjust the clock the way you like it. The app also shows your device's battery status.
You only need to swipe up or down to adjust brightness, to dim or to raise it. Tap the screen twice to activate the flashlight, so you won’t need to turn on your lights for a quick rise. Nite Time presents the perfect night mate your iDevice can be.
You won’t be disturbed by ads, but in the free version, you're stuck with red number's color. With paid version you can select the color you like the most to see in the night. Most other options are fully available in free version.
The Nite Time's developer Nick Fanger also promotes his Work Time app, similar to Quick Alarm reviewed above. The selection is up to you, and we’d say these two apps would pair beautifully as they look similar and you can manage them both the same way.
This app seems the most specific one in our collection. First of all, it’s meant for iPhoto fans who want to get the most out of their devices’ cameras. We mean iPhone most of all, of course, but latest iPad editions also have decent camera modules.
TimeLapse is the way to make concentrated videos and slide shows being shot for a long time periodically and then played. All the time the device should stand still and be plugged into a power source. That’s what a docking station provides, right?
TimeLapse has great photo quality and processing algorithms. This app can easily:
- create 4K videos;
- save RAW photo files;
- work with Smart Exposure;
- work with special equipment like Motrr Galileo mounts.
There is also a built-in editor that has two editing modes, for single pics and for resulting videos. Like in most mobile editors, this app has a lot of filters.
Before using TimeLapse, make sure you won’t have to move your device even when someone’s calling you. Answer the calls via a wireless headset or other Apple devices supporting Continuity.
The name has nothing to do with SSDs that have become a menace to our good old HDDs. The developer rather exploits the continual ecosystem created by different Apple devices. The SolidState app by Barn*Star Studios allows you to control your iDevice playing media through a dock from another Apple device. They just should be connected to the same network.
So your iPhone can be used as a remote control for your iPad standing in your docking station, playing music from iTunes. You can remotely pause or turn back on playback, control volume, select tracks and do all the things you usually do with a remote. Solid State is an eye-candy with an old-school radio appearance and no ads at all. However, flat design fans will surely disagree on this.
Solid State lacks support for third-party apps, so you can’t launch, say, Pandora on your docked iPad and control it from the iPhone in your hand, but the developers are working on this.
By the way, it works even on antediluvian devices with iOS 3.1, so you can find a new use for your old iPhone or iPod Touch with it. Do if you have a docking station with good audio output, you should, at least, try SolidState. Especially if it’s some old-school Marshall or something similar.
Finally, this one seems to embrace all it takes to turn your iPhone into an informative office device. Launch the app to see the current info on your screen. Dock+ displays current weather, day and time, and also serves as an audio or video player using your iTunes library.
The app’s interface is easy, it just takes one touch to switch to:
- built-in alarm clock;
- iPod library;
- or app’s settings.
The design is customizable, at least, you can select your favorite color scheme. Settings are just as flexible.
For example, you can turn on the music automatically when your device is connected. This case supposes you mostly use your dock to charge your phone, but if you don’t mind playing music each time you plug your device, OK, let it be.
Well, you can even use your 3.5 socket to play music from your other digital devices through your iPhone or iPad, so it becomes a kind of preamp between your acoustic system and your player… or another phone. Surprisingly, it turns out easier than connecting it directly, for example, if it’s an Android or Windows Phone device your docking station is incompatible with.
The next part will embrace Android apps that do mostly the same on other devices, but there’ll be some Android specifics.
Have you tried any of these apps? Share your experience in the comments below! The docking station pictured above courtesy of Scott Eaton.