12 March 2018

All this: “Timers, reminders, alarms—oh, my!”

The number of alerts that can be set was the starting point for the last post. People want multiple timers in their HomePods. That’s great, but Apple’s never had multiple timers in any iOS device, which is why I’ve always used reminders instead. “Reminders aren’t a substitute for timers!” I’ve been told by several people. I admire your steadfast adherence to your principles, but I need a solution, not a manifesto. (We’ll get to the deficiencies of using reminders as a substitute for timers later in the post.)

Since there’s only one timer, there’s no need for it to have a name or description. So when the timer on your phone/watch/table/speaker goes off, you might have to think a bit before you remember what it’s for. Alarms and reminders don’t have this problem.

Dr. Drang

Well, that’s one way to explain why you can’t set more than one timer on the HomePod: no other Apple device can! I noticed this myself a couple of months ago, when I saw that Windows 10’s Alarm app lets you set multiple, named timers – surprisingly useful for washing clothes. Crazy that this is still a limitation in the Apple ecosystem!

Windows 10 Alarm app with multiple timers
Even the Windows 10 UWP app handles multiple timers better than any Apple device

The conclusion to this article needs to be displayed prominently above the entrance of every Apple Store in the world:

I used to tell people the advantage of using Apple products was their consistency across devices and applications. I don’t do that anymore.

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