Yesterday Skype for iPad appeared in the App Store, only to be pulled a short time later. No one knew why. The company apologized on its Twitter feed. “We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience,” a tweet said.
After that, Skype’s twitter feed fell silent. What were they doing? Tweaking the iPad version’s interface? Fixing a security hole? Quite possibly they were simply writing the blog post accompanying its release.
Ten hours after its last tweet came another: “Finally, Skype for iPad is now available.” And the good news? It’s still available.
Before yesterday, iPad users of Skype had to make do with the iPhone version, which had a small interface on the tablet’s larger screen, along with several other limitations.
In the blog post that went up on Tuesday, Rick Osterloh, the video chat company’s head of product management, wrote that the iPad-specific version is “beautifully designed and optimized for the iPad. It offers the best of both worlds for users who want a larger Skype experience, on-the-go.”
He continued: “Not only does Skype for iPad feature an interface that takes advantage of the large screen, but there are a number of additional iPad-optimized features found in this new app.”
These include optimized two-way video calling, enabling users to connect with 170 million other Skype users around the world. Instant messaging during a video call is now possible. Viewing contacts has become simpler – they’re laid out in a grid format, displaying large avatar photos. Navigation has been improved, making it simpler to search recent conversations and history. The introduction of “simple SMS texting” means you can just tap on a contact and select “send SMS,” or open the dial pad and punch in the appropriate number before typing your message. Calls to landlines and cell phones are possible, with Skype credit, and the new app works over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks.
Skype for iPad is free and requires iOS4 or higher to run.