Skype coming to the iPad soon
After plenty of success with the iPhone version of the Skype app, the company is finally releasing an official version for the iPad. Skype hasn't announced a date for release yet, but video of the app has leaked out online, and the app is expected to be approved soon. Skype VP of Consumer and Product Design Rick Osterloh had a quick chat with us here at TUAW about the new app and what Skype expects to get out of it.
Osterloh says that the iPhone version of Skype burst out of the gate quickly, with a big launch and "a userbase that doubled in just a month's time." And he said the iPad version should "have a similar success," especially since it's basically the same in functionality: chatting, audio and video calling, and all of the other standard actions you can expect from Skype. The current app has been in testing for a few months now, and Osterloh is excited to unleash it on the public.
A few features in the full PC/Mac app didn't make it in, Osterloh says, perhaps most notably the ability to do file sharing. But that's obviously just because of the way the iPad deals with files. While the company was fine with simply having an iPhone app that was iPad compatible during the first release of the iPad, the camera in the iPad 2 was what made this app "super compelling."
I asked Osteroh if Skype had ever butted heads with Apple over duplicating functionality on the iPhone in terms of FaceTime or simple audio calling, and he said no -- "they've been super supportive," reminding me that Skype was invited onstage with Apple during the reveal of iOS 4.0. I also asked about a possible Twitter-style deal, where Skype might be included in the OS itself, and Osteroh said there weren't any plans for that yet, but "in general, we're always interested in deeper integration."
Skype for iPad shouldn't be too surprising a release -- ever since the iPad got a camera on it, it was likely that we'd see some version built especially for the bigger tablet. But according to Osteroh, it's a solid release for the company, and yet another step out onto mobile devices for one of the premiere communication networks online. We'll let you know as soon as we see the app live in the App Store -- it shouldn't be too long.
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