Editor’s note: Skype for iPad was released Monday night, but then removed from the App Store. The Skype Twitter account posted, “To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.” We were in quick and got you this early first look. Hopefully it will be back soon… we’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE 8/2/2011: And it’s back! The Skype for iPad app has returned to the App Store.
The popular video chat service Skype has just released an official iOS app for the iPad (version 1.0.1273). Skype for iPad brings full screen video chatting to your iPad with anyone on your contact list.
Skype for iPad is as simple as you’d expect. Once you sign in, the app presents you with your contacts and selecting one brings up their profile and options to immediately start a video or voice call.
Video chatting works well on an iPad, provided you have an iPad 2. If you do not have an iPad 2, you will not be able to send video to your contact, but you can still receive video.
Similar to FaceTime, the App uses the forward facing camera to send a video feed to your contact (a preview of which is shown in the corner), and your contact’s video feed appears in full screen. Controls on the bottom allow you to pull in a sidebar of chat and other contacts, see a chat box for the current caller, select your front or rear cameras, mute your mic, or hang up the call.
Video quality scales depending on the caller’s internet connection. When calling someone else who also had an iPad, I found the video quality scaled down a lot, but was still useable considering both of us are on WiFi.
Landscape or Portrait Mode
The app itself works in both portrait or landscape mode. The app will send the contact a letter-boxed video feed based on the orientation of the iPad. An app in portrait mode will send fairly large black bars to the contact while landscape mode has minimal letter-boxing.
Not a Universal App
The biggest disappointment is the fact that this app is specific to the iPad. I would have rather seen an universal app for both iPhone and iPad. As it stands, Skype for iPad is just that, Skype only for iPad. The previous iOS version continues to function for all other devices.
Drains 1% every 60-90 seconds or so if you are in some active chatrooms or are chatting if you have notifications turned on. If you do not, the battery drain is, less extreme, but still noticeable. Leaving Skype open while your iPad is not plugged in will drain your battery fairly quickly.
iPad HDMI Mirroring
Skype for iPad does support the mirroring feature of the iPad 2, so I was able to display a call on my television using the iOS Dock to HDMI adapter. The image is a direct mirror of the iPad.
From what I can tell, Skype for iPad does not use the new iOS 5 notification system, so it forces the older style popups. This can become cumbersome if you are a part of any active chatroom or have an conversation with a chatty contact. The simple fix is to disable the notifications in your iOS settings.
Overall, Skype for iPad is exactly what I would have expected. It is easy to use, and works well. Skype for iPad works on both the iPad, or optimally, with the iPad 2.
Skype for iPad is a free download from the App Store.