Skype for Mac 5, Skype for iPhone 3.0.1 –Upgrade Wednesday

Yesterday Skype issued two “hotfix” upgrades.

Skype for Mac

The latest Skype for Mac upgrade addresses an issue where Skype was taking over ownership of the video camera such that it could not be used with other software. Other issues addressed are outlined in this Skype Garage Blog post along with some known issues.

Skype for iPhone 3.0.1

The latest Skype for iPhone 3.0.1 upgrade (available via the Apple App store) provides support for video calls between Skype for iPhone and Skype for TV or Skype for Nokia N900. Skype for TV only supports the H.264 codec; as a results Skype video calls can only be completed with clients that have support for the H.264 codec, such as Skype for Windows 5.0, Skype for Mac 5.0 and, now, Skype for iPhone 3.0.1.

Of Interest

The Skype for iPhone 3.0.1 release blog post mentions the item “Support for iOS 4.3”. My iPad and iPhone (currently at version 4.2.1) say the next check for an iOS 4 upgrade will occur tomorrow (Feb. 11); probably coincidental with today’s launch of the Verizon version of the iPhone. While Skype has announced support for the “Verizon” iPhone, there must be an iOS upgrade coming to support the Verizon version of the iPhone but wonder if iOS 4.3 will also support, for all iPhones, the WiFi “personal hotspot” feature that is supposed to be available on the Verizon version of the iPhone.

As stated previously, while Skype for Mac 5 brings users closer to the Skype for Windows 5.x client, there still seems to be a learning curve for some users in terms of the “Contacts sidebar” and “conversation pane’ algorithm that has been employed in Skype for Windows 4.x and 5.x for over a year now. It takes some adaptation to the thinking; however, my personal experience has demonstrated that this is a much more effective and productive interface in terms of tracking activity with each of my Contacts. Full disclosure: I probably do more searches in Skype Chat windows than Google searches even though each addresses totally different user needs.

But, since the launch of Skype for Mac 5 Gold, there is one additional Skype for Mac UI issue that I would like to see addressed. Skype for Mac 5 allows you to narrow the Skype client window. However, whereas narrowing the Skype client in Skype for Windows 5.x stops the narrowing of the Contact pane at a width such that you can still see most Contacts’ full name, narrowing the Skype for Mac 5 window crunches the width of the Contact pane to the point where it becomes useless for access contacts.

Bottom line: Yes, it’s a Skype for Mac hotfix but there are still some outstanding features of Skype for Mac 5 required to have the full feature set of Skype for Windows 5, especially with respect to the issue of introducing the complete call bar feature set in Skype for Windows 5. And as for video calls between iPhone and TV sets, another Skype first – definitely not available with FaceTime.

Note: This headline, Skype for iPhone adds HDTV support, is incorrect for two reasons: Skype for iPhone video currently supports 160 x 120 resolution and Skype for TV supports, at best, High Quality Video’s 640 x 480 resolution (or lower if network conditions deteriorate). But it’s definitely not HDTV. Furthermore the H.264 codec  supports lower resolutions that 720p; it’s not always synonymous with HD resolutions. (And somewhere today I recall seeing a headline about “HD” becoming a useless term as it becomes used for anything that might be the “latest” in video — or even audio)

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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