Skype was one of the most requested and eagerly awaited applications for the iPhone and after a considerable wait it finally arrived as a free download on the App Store on 31st March. So how does the software measure up against its desktop cousin and other iPhone ready VoIP rivals?
Skype is certainly not the first Voice over IP applications for the iPhone, Truphone beat it to the punch by around a year, but Truphone doesn’t have the brand recognition or the colossal user base of Skype. After all, Skype now reckons it has around 17 million registered users – although not all of these are using the service on a regular basis.
First things first, how does the iPhone app look? Rather than copy the design of the latest desktop version of Skype, the company has sensibly decided to make the iPhone version look much more like a standard iPhone app. As such there are times when you have to do a double take to check whether you’re actually using the iPhone’s standard dialler or Skype’s lookalike version.
This is because the Skype dialler and in-call menu not only look almost identical to the standard iPhone version, but feature much of the same functionality, too. When you’re on a call you can choose to mute the line, put the caller on hold or switch to speakerphone mode just as you would on a normal mobile call on the iPhone. The iPhone’s proximity sensor is also called into play as the screen goes dark when you put the phone to your ear, just as it does on normal calls.
The contacts screen also apes the standard iPhone contact’s book. You can jump to individual letters or hit the magnifying glass icon to perform a search. A neat addition is the ‘Online’ button, which filters the results to show you only those contacts that are currently logged in.