Editors' Note: The "Download Now" link directs you to the iTunes App Store, where you must continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed in order to open the link, and you must have an active iTunes account to download the application. This download may not be available in some countries.
Skype's official iPhone app is one way to climb aboard the VoIP calling (and IM) train Skype from the iPhone. Skype for iPhone has always let you place free 3G calls to other Skype users, and low-price calls to cell phones and landlines around the world. Version 2.0 at long last introduces support for making calls over the 3G data network. Call quality will depend on your data or Wi-Fi connection, though we found that Skype's audio can be clearer than with conventional calls, especially internationally. Since that isn't always the case, an improved quality meter will flash a message on the screen when your coverage fluctuates. However, if you hold the phone to your ear or let the screen dim, you may miss these visual alerts.
There's just one catch: Skype's 3G calling is only on a trial basis for now. In early 2011, the VoIP company will levy a "small monthly fee," the amount of which remains undecided for now, according to online reports. Skype has not yet released information explaining how it'll charge for the service, but we're guessing subscribers will sign up through in-app purchasing.
As for the rest, Skype for iPhone presents an interface that's arguably more intuitive than the Mac and PC Skype clients, but it's also lighter on features. Here's what you can do: quickly see the status of your contacts, start IM conversations (over Wi-Fi or 3G), add pictures from your phone to contacts (which almost instantly syncs to your computer client, as well), and access your profile and voice mail. Though Skype does voice calls well, it's also behind some competitors, especially when it comes to adding video-calling features to its voice repertoire.
Sign in to Skype from any WiFi zone and reach friends and family free with Skype-to-Skype calls. Free Skype-to-Skype calls from any WiFi zone. Call phones and mobiles from your iPhone contacts at great rates. See who is online and send and receive instant messages on the move.
What's new in this version:
- Call using your 3G connection. Skype-to-Skype calls on 3G are free until the end of 2010, after which there will be a small monthly fee (operator charges for data will still apply).
- Near CD-quality sound for Skype-to-Skype calls using wideband audio (SILK codec) on iPhone 3GS, iPad and 2nd & 3rd generation iPod touch.
- Enhanced call quality indicator.
- Improved start-up time.
- Fast access to the dial pad from iPhone home screen.