Skype for iPad briefly launches

OK, good news and bad news time. The good news was the long-awaited launch of Skype for Apple's iPad last night. The bad news is that it was pulled not long after. But not before the app was detailed and caught on camera.

Skype has already commented about the non-launch on Twitter, saying: 'To ensure your best Skype experience, we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.' It added: 'We know you've been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologise for the inconvenience.' It sounds very much like a problem has been spotted or the app has gone live without being fully checked. Although you would have thought the checking would have been completed before sending to Apple. We suspect it will reappear in the not-too-distant future. It might even turn up later today if the problem is minor. Here's hoping.

Anyway, the brief launch did allow a lucky few to download and use it, so we know exactly what's coming when the app does return, which is essentially what you might well know and love now on the iPhone, but with a bigger screen to play with.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, you just sign up or sign in (if you do the latter, all your contacts will be waiting for you), then with one touch, you can call, video or instant message any of those friends and acquaintances. The free app works over both 3G and Wi-Fi, but also allows you to make cheap calls to landlines or mobiles (with Skype credit) and flick through recent calls and instant messages in your Skype for iPad history (which is free obviously). All on a larger display, which is the big selling point here.

Skype video calling requires iOS 4.0 and as you might have guessed, it isn't an upgrade to the existing Skype iOS app, but an all-new one called Skype for iPad. So a new download is required to get the iPad-specific features. Keep your eyes open for that. As we said, we don't think this is going to be a long delay, it's likely to relaunch in days rather than weeks.

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