Sorry about this. Perhaps I should have posted this earlier, but I slept in. I really didn't expect Europe's iPhone users would fail to wake up this morning because a bug in Apple's iPhone software didn't recognise the change in clocks here over the weekend.

Somewhat frustratingly, the iPhone Clock app had no problem resetting itself to cater for the annual clock change. Unfortunately, this automatic recognition didn't extend to a user's built-in alarms, which were delayed by an hour as the handset's alarm system continued to run in the previous zone.

The problem was first reported by Australian and New Zealand users way back in September -- but a fix isn't expected until later this month (November). Someone in Apple's US-centric software development team has sure dropped the ball here. What's most annoying is that alarms went off without a hitch last year...

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

Minor as this may sound, it is precisely the kind of mundane function a mass market consumer device must get 100 percent right -- and could impact a lot more users than the much-hyped 'antenna-gate' SNAFU ever touched. Just take a look at these discussions...

Suggested fix
Apple has suggested users go to 'Settings' > 'General' > 'Reset' > 'Reset all settings'. The iPhone then re-starts and you have to re-enter the alarm times but it now works correctly. You do however lose some configuration settings, such as your home screen wallpaper.

With this in mind, I thought this might be a good time to pull together a short collection of alternative Alarm clock apps which hopefully won't be struck by this silly, silly (and avoidable) bug.

One more annoyance: In order for these alarm apps to function they must be active on your phone when you got to sleep -- they cannot run in the background. Perhaps Apple could relent a little to allow third-party alarms to function in the background, now it has let a few million European users down with its own offering?

Alarm Clock Nightstand
This app works with both an iPad or an iPhone and offers a large, easy-to-read digital alarm-style read-out of time in either 12- or 24-hour clock formats.

Better than the Apple-supplied alarm, it can wake you with your choice of iTunes track, and will also let you mute your iPhone so people can't wake you with late night pester calls, though the alarm will still go off.

The software supports unlimited alarms, boasts a customizable snooze alarm (which you switch on by picking up your phone and shaking the device), escalating alarm sounds and more. Link: Free version, 99-cents version.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock
This alarm seems interesting: it claims to analyze your sleeep patterns in order to wake you up in your lightest sleep phase.
Sleep Cycle also saves your sleep data and displays a detailed sleep graph and sleep statistics for every night you use it.

The software determines your sleep patterns by monitoring your movements during sleep using your iPhone's accelerometer. You'll be woken at some point in the 30 minutes before your alarm time at which you are likely to feel the most refreshed. The app seems to work, judging from user feedback on the app store. Link: 99-cents.

Alarm Clock Radio
I like this app. It works as an alarm clock, which is useful, but is also able to access over 25,000 free radio stations hosted on the SHOUTcast Radio network.  Easy to use, the radio also offers a police message scanner, iTunes support, an easy-to-read clock, snooze alarm and sleep timer. Link: 99-cents.

Relax Alarm Clock Pro
The most expensive in the list, this alarm is a little different as it includes 70 chilled-out sounds to relax you when you go to sleep, or to waken you gently when it is time to rise. You get sleep and wake-up alarms, a snooze alarm and more. In-App purchase upgrades include iPod music integration, weather info, stocks and additional sounds. Link: $4.99

Alarm Clock 4
Another digital alarm clock interface, Alarm Clock 4 offers unlimited alarms and customizable setttings, will play music from iTunes and a range of attractive themes, a flashlight feature (useful on these dark mornings) and nice BIG snooze buttons. LINK: 99-cents

One of the first alarm clock apps to make an appearance on the iPhone, Alarm! is free to download at present, offers four different appearances, can access your iPod music on your iPhone, supports multiple alarms and even lets you share alarms with friends and family. I think this useful little app is a very good deal, but snag it quickly as the free offer won't last forever. LINK

Here's hoping Europe wakes up tomorrow -- see you then!