Skype app hits iPad after brief disappearing act

Aug 2, 2011
Tech

What is it with iPad apps that everyone has been waiting for suddenly appearing and disappearing lately? Yesterday, the long-awaited Skype for iPad app finally made its way to the iTunes App Store, only to disappear immediately afterward. It’s not unlike the secret Facebook iPad app that was suddenly discovered hidden in the iPhone app […]

What is it with iPad apps that everyone has been waiting for suddenly appearing and disappearing lately?

Yesterday, the long-awaited Skype for iPad app finally made its way to the iTunes App Store, only to disappear immediately afterward. It’s not unlike the secret Facebook iPad app that was suddenly discovered hidden in the iPhone app last week, which Facebook promptly obliterated with an update.

In the case of Skype, however, it seems the launch yesterday was just a mistake of programming and there were still at least some aspects of the app that its developers needed to adjust. That’s what was said on Skype’s Twitter account, anyway, according to a story from GigaOM. And true to its word, the Internet telephony company made the app available today, where it remains, free and glorious on the iPad, with the capability of making video or voice calls over both a Wi-Fi and a 3G Internet connection.

That’s a step above Apple’s own FaceTime app, which allows users to make video calls to other iOS users who have an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4, since both have forward-facing cameras. With Skype, an older device will work (but not for sending video, obviously), and Skype doesn’t require a Wi-Fi Internet connection like FaceTime does, it’ll work over the cellular network as well. Skype also is able to make free voice and video calls to any device with Skype including iPads, computers and even smartphones. FaceTime is limited to calling only other iOS devices with the same capability.

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Skype’s app getting pulled from the App Store briefly ignited some conspiracy theorizing over the reasoning for the disappearing act, before Skype set the record straight and, obviously, before the app returned to the App Store. Skype is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft in an $8.5 billion cash deal that has the approval of the U.S. government, and the idea that Apple wasn’t willing to play nice with the two companies was bandied about briefly.

The iPad Skype app first got shown off briefly in a video the company demonstrated way back in June, and users have been waiting for it to appear ever since. Seems that wait is finally over, so we’re all free to return our attention to waiting for Facebook’s iPad app.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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