10 June 2014

Skype for iPhone to get major update, redesigned from ground up

Microsoft’s trying to get everyone excited about Skype for iPhone with the promise of an update it describes as “the biggest change ever” for the software.

Skype for iPhone

“iPhone will soon join the redesigned Skype mobile app club, and we can’t wait for you to try it,” Skype’s Eric Lin said in a blog post about the update, which is set to roll out in the coming days.

“The new Skype for iPhone is the most refined version yet. It has all the visual finish that iOS users expect, smooth animations and even a few features that aren’t just new for this version, but new to Skype altogether.”

Skype 5.0 for iPhone is the company’s attempt at providing a consistent look and feel with the Android and Windows Phone Skype apps, “while still optimizing for iPhone’s strengths,” Lin said.

The revamped app will apparently be “over five times faster than before,” and offer smoother scrolling and transitions with no adverse effect on battery life.

You’ll also be able to start group chats from the hub and send messages and photos to friends and family even if they’re offline, with content appearing on their device as soon as they’re available again.

Conversation status will also sync across devices with the updated app, so “as you read your messages on your PC, tablet, Xbox and so on, those conversations will be marked as read (or unread if new messages come in) on your iPhone, too.”

To discover all the new features, we’ll have to wait till the update pops up in the iOS app store “in about a week.”

A refreshed iPad version is also on the way, though is expected to land a little while after the iPhone update.

Lin said in his near-rhapsodic blog post that Skype’s designers and engineers had “obsessed over every pixel” to create the new version of Skype for iPhone. That’s certainly some build up, but will it deliver?

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