iPad users finally get Skype app

More than a month after its expected debut, the iPad-optimized Skype client is made available on Apple's App Store--after briefly being pulled for a number of hours.

Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

iPad users can finally get their hands on a native Skype app. For real.

More than a month after it was expected to make its official debut, the iPad-optimized Skype client began appearing in Apple App Stores on August 1. The new app takes advantage of the tablet's larger screen real estate, making for crisp and clear video chat over Wi-Fi, and often less crisp chat over 3G.

However, not long after the app appeared, Skype pulled it, saying it was released prematurely. "To ensure your best Skype experience, we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today," Skype said on its Twitter feed. "We know you've been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience."

Then some hours later, on the morning of August 2, Skype proclaimed again that Skype is available for download.

Skype had whetted iPad owners' appetite in June when it posted a video of its not-yet-released iPad application to its YouTube channel before quickly setting it to private.

The video demos the application's video chat capabilities, which rival that of Apple's built-in FaceTime service with a window for both the person you're chatting with, and one to view yourself in. Also included is standard phone dialing and integrated text-chat, the latter of which can be used during a video chat.

The big difference from Apple's own FaceTime service is that Skype's application brings video chat over 3G networks. FaceTime currently only works over Wi-Fi, something Apple has said will change eventually.

CNET's Josh Lowensohn contributed to this report.

Read CNET's hands-on review of the app from June.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. PT on Aug. 1 to reflect app being pulled from store, and then again at 8:17 a.m. on Aug. 2 after Skype again said that the app is available.

 

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