Skype Teases iPad App, Voice Calling, Verizon iPhone

VoIP provider Skype published and then quickly removed support documents suggesting voice calling on Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone akin to FaceTime, the native iPad app, and even a mythical Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) iPhone.

An updated Skype for iOS software will add video calling between i-devices and desktop Skype users, while it looks like an iPad version is in the pipeline, too, a help document published Friday on the company's official site revealed.

Skype took down the help file a few hours later, leaving Apple fans puzzled. Don't worry -- someone in the company's marketing probably messed up by hitting the "launch" button prematurely, as the new release isn't ready for prime time yet.

The blogosphere, of course, cached the prematurely leaked resources revealing a few interesting tidbits. Before you check out the features, know that Skype can kill any number of advertised capabilities when the app launches. Also bear in mind this isn't the first time for Skype to ditch features or pull an imminent software update at the last minute.

And now, the features: 

  • Video calling works on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, and iPad.
  • Video chatting will be possible between the people running Skype on their iPhones/iPod touches and desktop Skype users.
  • Naturally, your contacts will only be able to see you if your device has a camera.
  • Video calling is supported over both Wi-Fi and 3G.
  • The contacts you are calling must be using Skype for Windows version 4.2 and above, Skype for Max OS X version 2.8 and above, or Skype for iPhone 3.0 and above.
  • You'll be able to switch between front and rear cameras during a Skype video call.
  • Video feed automatically rotates if you turn your device upside down.
  • Double-tapping anywhere will switch between full-screen and normal size.
  • In-call features: Tap anywhere to access the camera and microphone controls, like putting the call on hold, turning off video during a Skype video call, and more.
  • You'll be able to receive screen shares from people using Skype for Windows or Mac OS X.
  • Sharing the screen of your i-device and receiving a screen share from another i-device user isn't supported.
  • When invited to a group video call, Skype for iPhone will switch to audio-only mode.

The company said nothing about optimizations to reduce Skype's abnormal battery drain, even on the iPhone 4. In fact, here's what the company wrote in the help document:

"When your iPhone is processing a lot of video its CPU (Central Processing Unit) has to work very hard and makes the iPhone become warm to the touch. You will experience the same thing if you stream videos through applications like Netflix or YouTube."

Another support document confirmed that Skype plans on releasing a version of the mobile client written specifically for the iPad:

Even though the iPhone application is fully compatible with the iPad, we're still always striving to bring the best to our Skype users, which is why we're developing a Skype application designed specifically for the iPad. Watch the website for further updates. The Skype application will work fine with your iPad's in-built speakers and mic, but we still recommend plugging in some headphones for best sound quality.

Finally, 9 to 5 Mac noted that the help document covering the iPhone video chatting capability had the Verizon logo, leading the publication to conclude that we're up for a Jan. 6 Verizon iPhone announcement at CES 2011.

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