Skype has updated its iOS app with benefits for both iPad and iPhone users.
Released on Thursday, Skype's iPad app can now take advantage of the new Split View feature in iOS 9, the latest version of Apple's mobile software. Split View is designed to help you better multitask and can display two apps side-by-side so you don't have to keep jumping from one app to another. The advantage with an app like Skype is that you can more easily copy and paste text from another app to your Skype chats. You can also click on links in your Skype chats and view the linked page side-by-side.
Tablet sales aren't what they used to be, and Apple is feeling the pinch. The company's share of the tablet market keeps dwindling as more consumers hang onto their existing tablets or opt instead for big-screened smartphones. Apple needed a new tactic to convince people to buy tablets, and the new Split View mode is just that. Split View is supported only by last year's iPad Air 2 and this year's new iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro. Whether Split View by itself will be enough of a lure to coax people to buy a new iPad is the question.
The latest Skype iPad app taps into another new iOS 9 feature, namely Slide Over. A more limited version of Split View, Slide Over displays two apps side-by-side. Your main app resides on the left side of the screen. You can then choose from a list of apps that you slide into place to take up a small section on the right side of the screen. Slide Over works with the iPad Mini 2 and later Mini models, the iPad Air and later Air models and the new iPad Pro.
iPhone owners can't use the Split View or Slide Over features, but the new version of Skype for the iPhone, released on Friday, offers a couple of enhancements.
You can now reply directly to Skype notifications on your lock screen without having to open the app first. You can initiate a Skype chat from the Spotlight screen, which shows you a list of suggested apps, contacts and other content when you keep swiping all the way to the left on your tablet. With Skype for the iPhone or iPad, you can tap the name of a contact in the Spotlight screen and directly kick off a Skype call.
Owned by Microsoft, Skype faces increasing competition from rival messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp. But at this point it remains one of the most popular services for making phone and video calls and texting people.
You can read more about the latest changes to Skype's iOS app in Friday's Skype blog.