Fairfax announces iPhone, watch news apps

Fairfax announces iPhone, watch news appsFairfax Media's new Skim suite of apps

Fairfax has become the first Australian publisher to announce a news app for the Apple Watch, with the offering joined by new iPhone apps for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age readers.

The trio of apps, known as Skim, will be a curated collection of news stories on the iPhone , and a system of alerts and updates on the Apple Watch.

The iPhone software will not replace Fairfax’s mobile sites, but will be available in addition.

Skim on the iPhone will feature the top five stories selected by editors, the latest breaking news and the top five most-read stories.

“What Skim aims to do is to really give them the quick look around of what’s happening right now,” Fairfax’s director of mobile Stefan Savva said.

“It will give you a really succinct view of the news that’s around you, the news that’s important right now.”

The companion Apple Watch app will show users sports scores and updates during a game, the latest news headlines which are then able to be opened and read in full on Skim for iPhone, and breaking news notifications.

Fairfax also has rethought its approach to these breaking news notifications. They won’t just be an alert to let you know a breaking story has been published on the web.

“We’re also going to try … live news on the watch,” Mr Savva said.

“We will atomise a story as it develops and send in really short, succinct headlines. If a big news story breaks at 9am on a Monday morning, a leadership spill, if that story develops over three or four hours we’ll be able to send a micro-tweet to you and give you updates just as soon as we know them.

“That’s before we’ll even be able to write the article.”

Commercial opportunities on the iPhone include branding integrated into the splash screen and full-page ads between sections. There will be no advertising on the Apple Watch app under Apple’s conditions.

“You’ll get an amazingly rich experience that’s full-page … so we’re certainly expecting to have really premium-looking, really exciting opportunities” on the iPhone, Mr Savva said.

Skim will be available for non-subscribers to read 10 free articles a month, or for current subscribers to access unlimited content. The iPhone apps and Apple Watch app will launch on April 24, the first day the watch is available in-store.

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