After a leaked video accidentally spoiled the surprise, Skype has confirmed that it is preparing an iPad app for release. No firm date is yet known for when it will arrive, but according to TUAW, which spoke to Skype VP of consumer and product design Rick Osterloh, it is expected to be approved soon by Apple for the App Store.
The video of Skype that leaked (embedded below) shows what looks to be a fairly impressive finished product. It takes full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen size, allowing users to make audio and video calls, and use text-based chat, as well as allowing users to chat via text while on a video call. The iPad 2’s camera is the primary driving force behind the company’s decision to release an iPad-specific version of its iOS app, Osterloh said.
Skype for iPad can make use of both of the iPad 2’s cameras, and also appears to support calling out to landlines and mobile phones, just like other mobile and desktop clients. File sharing isn’t included in the iPad version, but that’s because of the iPad’s lack of a user-accessible file system, and it’s not yet clear whether group video chat will be included in this iPad release.
The Skype app’s contact browser appears to work similar to the iPad’s music player app, with big square contact photos appearing in a grid configuration. Judging by the video, I’m tempted to say it actually looks like it could be a joy to use, unlike the most recent Skype release for Mac.
Having a native iPad client will be great for both video and voice communications on the iPad. FaceTime is nice, but it obviously has a much more limited reach because it only works with Apple hardware. Skype has the advantage of being multi-platform, and its VoIP capabilities are nothing to sneeze at, either. Look for it in the App Store in the near future.