For anyone familiar with the premature video release in June, Tuesday morning must have seemed like deja vu. The long-awaited Skype app for Apple’s iPad appeared in the iTunes store but then disappeared -- apparently it had been released ahead of schedule.
The Skype app first made an appearance very late on Monday (just before midnight EDT), which turned out to be well in advance of Skype’s intended release time. About an hour later, the official word from Skype’s Twitter feed came in. “To ensure your best Skype experience,” tweeted @Skype, “we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.”
Several hours later, a celebrity saved the day. About 2pm EDT, Alyssa Milano tweeted “Skype for iPad now available” (although in the interest of full disclosure, Ms. Milano admitted that she did get her information from MSNBC).
Skype’s features, according to the official Big Blog post “Skype Now Optimized for your iPad”, include Skype’s trademark two-way video calling between Skype users on any combination of platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, et cetera), although sending video requires a device with a camera, which lets out first-generation iPads, among others. Skype’s standard features also include instant messaging (even during a video call), SMS texting, and the ability to use Skype to call landline or mobile numbers (which of course incurs a charge).
The optimizations for iPad generally make user-friendly concessions to the touchscreen interface as well as taking advantage of a few iPad-specific features. Contacts are arranged in big finger-friendly avatar blocks, and switiching between front and rear cameras is fully integrated, as is calling over Wi-Fi and 3G.
Because the Skype company is currently in the final stages of an acquisition by Microsoft -- who is, of course, a perennial competitor of Apple -- any number of observers were led to lay the blame for the curious delay on Microsoft shenanigans. In this way also the situation resembles a June blunder in which a Skype for iPad announcement video was prematurely leaked (and subsequently copied and spread) to YouTube -- even leading reviewers such as those at CNET to post premature reviews of the product.
James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. Craig-Morganson was born and raised in Connecticut and then migrated to Nevada in 1980. He is a competitive athlete, musician and successful entrepreneur.