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News and Fairfax to launch watch apps for real estate

Domain and realestate.com.au will both launch apps for the Apple Watch, with pre-orders opening on Friday for the device that promises to ring in a new era of immediacy for consumers. Fairfax Media’s Domain app, which will be synchronised to its iPhone app, will allow users to receive instant notifications on their wrists, alerting them faster to updates such...

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Domain and realestate.com.au will both launch apps for the Apple Watch, with pre-orders opening on Friday for the device that promises to ring in a new era of immediacy for consumers.

Fairfax Media’s Domain app, which will be synchronised to its iPhone app, will allow users to receive instant notifications on their wrists, alerting them faster to updates such as new listings that meet their saved search criteria, prices and inspection times.

“A lot of our users are already using mobile as a way of accessing Domain, especially on iOS,” Domain senior product manager Irene Ongkowidjaja said. “Apple is really seeing a lot of interest in the Apple Watch and we’re anticipating our users will pick it up very quickly.

Ms Ongkowidjaja said the look and feel was slightly different. “The design is really simple and easy to understand – the user experience was a big consideration,” she said.

The Apple Watch app also allows users to browse listings and press a button that opens the app on the iPhone if they wish to continue browsing in greater detail. “It’s like a gateway to the iPhone,” she said.

Realestate.com.au is run by REA Group, which is part-owned by News Corp Australia. The realestate.com.au watch app will alert property hunters when homes for sale appear in their area, and offer GPS directions and the ability to record voice notes.

A spokeswoman for REA Group said feedback from the real estate industry had been “really positive.” Agents’ listings will be automatically available on the Apple Watch as well, if the user is in the right location, the spokeswoman said.

REA’s chief product officer Henry Ruiz said the function opened up a new realm of possibilities to capture the interest of potential buyers.

Domain’s leap into the Apple watch follows its early adoption of wearables, launching an app for Android wearables last year. “We were able to put into practice a lot of learnings from that experience, and there were a lot of reusable components,” Ms Ongkowidjaja said.

“The real estate industry is really excited about it. Agents are happy because it means they can get listings faster to potential buyers.”

She anticipated a much greater uptake of the Apple Watch than previous devices such as Google Glass, as it was a much more naturally wearable product.

Domain Group chief executive Antony Catalano said Domain was gearing up for a big year in consumer technology development.

“Completing the pair of wearable apps, first for Android and now for iOS, signals the next phase of Domain’s broader, mobile-first strategy,” Mr Catalano said.

Both apps will launch on April 24, when the Apple Watch is released in stores.

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