Skype for iPad launched two days ago and has become an instant hit at the Apple App Store. In fact, according to AppiAnnie, which tracks sales at online stores, Skype for iPad was #1 download on the Apple App Store in 86 countries on launch day. This lead continued into the next day.
This response is certainly a measure of the intensity of anticipation; “Skype for iPad” has been a popular search term on Google for that past several months.
And a few comments based on my experience over the past two days:
Voice quality – definitely as good as the experience using the iPhone.
Collaboration – as a participant but not as a host! While you can follow a Group Chat or be a participant in a multi-party voice call via Skype for iPad, you cannot create any form of multi-party conversation. There is no “Add to call” feature anywhere; you cannot add/remove participants to/from a chat session. You must create and host the multi-party conversation in Skype for Windows or Skype for Mac.
Video calls – while you cannot send video on the original iPad you can receive video calls on it. Have had a couple of good call experiences with it. Of importance is that video calls be received from contacts using Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac, Skype for iPhone/Android or Skype for TV.
Notifications: once I had installed Skype for iPad I started receiving an iPad notification every time someone put a message into a Chat session. When you have over 400 Contacts, this can quickly become annoying. Go to the iPad “Settings”, scroll down to Skype (and make sure you select Skype for iPad – showing as version 1.0.1273 until there is an update), select Notifications and turn Sounds and Alerts “Off”.
Battery drain: more than 24 hours after my last recharge with Skype for iPad open throughout, my battery is down to 55%. Certainly more than acceptable than the iPhone experience if you charge your iPad overnight on a daily basis.
USB Headset – No! while Dan reported success using a USB headset via the Camera Connector when using the original Skype for iPhone on the iPad, I encountered an unacceptable level of choppy audio when attempting to use a USB headset. If you need a headset for, say, privacy reasons, use the 3.5mm headset jack on the iPad.
Bottom line: With battery life more in the background as an issue, the challenge now is determining under what circumstances I would use it:
when out of the house and have a WiFi connection, whether via a WiFi Access point or the Personal Hotspot feature of my iPhone1
in my office as a backup when my PC is not available (rebooting or running too many other programs such that call quality deteriorates)
as a speakerphone where maybe 2 to 4 people are listening
(with iPad 2) as the default video phone, provided the iPad 2 can be located appropriately for capturing the video image (probably using one of the “stand” type covers)
But only ongoing experience will demonstrate where I end up using Skype for iPad. Certainly it adds to the “attache case” content I discussed when iPad was first announced. After all we often carry a mobile phone in a brief case.
1Using the Personal Hotspot feature of the iPhone helps to consume the 6GB monthly data plan available on my iPhone – which otherwise never gets over 1GB – and saves the monthly fee for an iPad data service – especially since I seem to use well over the minimum level Rogers offers in its iPad data plans.
- Skype for iPad: Creating a Default Video Phone for Consumers? (voiceontheweb.biz)
- Skype Now Optimized for your iPad (blogs.skype.com)
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