At the time of writing, it’s still offline, while about an hour ago a tweet on the company’s Twitter feed read: “To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.” Another followed soon after: “We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience.”
The reason for its sudden removal, and when it might find its way back into the App Store, isn’t known.
As a Cnet report noted, the new app utilizes the whole screen. Before now, iPad owners would have to use the iPhone version of Skype, which either meant a small interface in the middle of the screen, or blowing it up to fill the whole space, resulting in a low quality image.
According to engadget, the new Skype app wasn’t being offered as an update to the existing iPhone version, but instead as a separate iPad-specific version requiring a separate download.
A feature of Skype for iPad not found on the iPhone version allows instant messaging while engaged in a video chat. Richard Lawler, writing for engadget, had a chance to download the new app before it disappeared and describes it as feeling like “a souped-up version of the iPhone release.”
Apple has a similar app for making video calls on the iPad – FaceTime. The main difference between the two is that Skype offers video chat over 3G networks, whereas FaceTime is currently restricted to Wi-Fi.
It’s highly unlikely that Skype’s sudden removal of its new app from the App Store means that it is now undergoing a radical overhaul (just a few tweaks under the hood, perhaps?) and so it shouldn’t look too different when it reappears, whenever that may be.