Android/iOS (Beta): You probably use your phone as an alarm clock, and you may even use it to play music isntead of a generic alarm tone, but what if you could use your favourite speakers or home stereo to wake you up instead of your phone's tinny speakers? That's what Sleepcast does.
Sleepcast searches your home network for networked audio devices automatically, so if you have connected speakers like a Sonos, Bose, or a receiver set up already, you won't have to lift a finger to connect to it. Once you use the app to set your morning alarm, it will automatically play music through your selected speakers, so you can wake up to music at a volume you set, from a sound source you actually enjoy.
If you prefer Bluetooth speakers or have speakers in your home you can connect to via DLNA or UPnP, you can use Sleepcast with those as well. Of course, if you just want to connect your phone to your speaker's aux port, you can do that too.
The app works in reverse too — you can go to sleep to music through your favourite speakers just as easily as you can set an alarm. Use the app's sleep timer to play music for a certain period, and then shut itself off automatically. You can set as many sleep timers or alarms as you like, so you can easily switch between workday, weekend, or one-off alarms if you prefer.
The only downside to Sleepcast is that it only works with local music. You can build playlists in the app easily enough, but if you're like many of us and stream most of your music, you're out of luck here. Either way, you can still check the app out — it's free. It's Android only right now, but you can sign up for the iOS or Windows Phone betas at the link below if you want to give it a whirl.