Microsoft's Skype 5.0 for iPhone due 'in about a week'

Microsoft's Skype 5.0 for iPhone due 'in about a week'

Summary: Microsoft is rewriting its Skype for iPhone version from the ground up and will deliver the new 5.0 release for iPhone globally in about a week. Here's what's coming, feature-wise.

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Microsoft is redesigning its Skype for iPhone mobile app and will release version 5.0 for that platform globally within a week from today, June 9.

skype5foriphone

The coming update will include "smooth animations and even a few features that aren't just new for this (5.0) version, but new to Skype altogether," according to a post on the Skype "Garage & Updates" blog.

With Skype these days, Microsoft's goal is to provide a coherent mobile experience across all phones and tablets.

Microsoft is committing to providing a consistent look and feel with the Windows Phone and Android phone versions of Skype "while still optimizing for iOS's unique strengths," officials blogged.

The 5.0 version for iPhone is rewritten "from the ground up," officials said. It will be "over 5 times faster than the old version," they claimed, and will include smoother scrolling, transitioning and animations without hurting battery life and overall performance.

iPhone users will be able to start group chats from the hub. Messages and photos can be sent and received with contacts who are offline. And syncing of messages across PCs, tablets, Xbox and other Windows- and non-Windows-based devices running Skype will be synced with the 5.0 release for iPhone, officials added.

Microsoft expects to provide the 5.0 Skype for iPhone globally "in about a week," and a new version of Skype for iPad "soon," according to today's blog post.

Update 1 (June 9): So... what about Windows Phone? No word from Microsoft as to when Skype for WP is getting an overhaul. My guess is the Skype team is following the path that the Office team is and delivering first on platforms with the greatest market share.

As to when Skype users on Windows Phone will get photo-sharing, here's Microsoft's statement, via a company spokesperson: 

"We are committed to delivering the best Skype experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users. This means launching new features like photo sharing as soon as it’s available on each separate platform."

Update 2 (June 12): Looks like it took less than a week. Microsoft officials said the 5.0 version of Skype for iPhone is available for download from the Apple store as of today, June 12.

Topics: Mobility, iOS, iPhone, Microsoft, Unified Comms

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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35 comments
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  • Complete with...

    ...a new, harder-for-the-average user-to-detect NSA backdoor!
    Techboy_z
    • Why?

      As conspiracy theories go this one is really stupid. There are 2 options:
      - The NSA can get US companies to provide them with backdoors, in which case Apple already built a couple into iOS.
      - The NSA cannot get US companies to provide them with backdoors, in which case there aren't any in Skype.
      Sacr
  • Imoroved but still missing a significant feature

    It sounds like this update still doesn't support Audiobus, which would allow recording a podcast entirely in iOS. Perhaps the improved inter-app communication features in iOS 8 will make this unnecessary, but it would be nice not to have to carry a laptop to do a podcast over Skype.
    bdegrande
  • Switching from WP

    I really like my Lumia 1020 and the Dev Preview 8.1 has a lot of great features but this seems to be how it goes with apps. WP has most apps that people consider essential but they are updated much less often than other platforms. The fact that Microsoft is now doing the same thing with their own offerings almost guarantees I will switch to android or ios when my renewal comes up at the end of July. I'll continue to use 365 and their apps but on another platform. They can't expect to build momentum while holding back on improving their own apps on their own platform.
    Admin71
    • I understand

      Your frustration I'm in the same position as well one in awhile but, when I calm down and think about it the facts replaced my feelings and I love WP future. MS is overhauling the WP platform from the ground up as well. It just doesn't make sense to release new product out without finish the biggest project. Am I happy about that? Hell no, but this will give MS time to study and come with better product fro WP. In the mean time I don't mind ms is trying to bring back people to its services. Once people see again how good MS' apps are they might want to use the MS ecosystems as well.
      Jorge-M
      • The imbeciles running MS

        There will be no need to come to the Windows platform anymore for many users, since all the major apps will be available on most platforms, and will likely be updated before MS' own platforms. Can you imagine if people in other countries said that they had to release their products in the US market first, because it was the largest market. The locals would simply snub their products. Well expect the same within the MS ecosystem. If MS wants to disrespect its own community, its own community will reciprocate.
        P. Douglas
        • After 8.1

          I don't believe that will be the case. Just as a business point of view is a terrible idea
          Jorge-M
        • It isn't about pride

          it is about reach. Reach makes money. Pride just costs you.

          Microsoft has no fear (and should have no fear) of losing its Windows business. Anyone who wants a Windows computer will buy one... and chances are, if they are buying a computer, it IS a Windows computer (Macs are a boutique options selected by a small few, relatively speaking.) And if they have Windows, they likely already have Skype.

          So how do they expand their user base and reach? By looking over to devices - their own and others' - where they don't yet own everything, and try to make themselves ubiquitous.

          It is a common sense strategy in the interests of shareholders, and no one should find themselves surprised that they would do this.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • Desktops

            "Microsoft has no fear (and should have no fear) of losing its Windows business. Anyone who wants a Windows computer will buy one... and chances are, if they are buying a computer, it IS a Windows computer "

            I agree with your point re: desktops. But why is MS selling smartphones and tablets. I can easily get a Android/iOS smartphone or tablet since MS provides services first to these phones. Why would I get a WP or "Modern" Windows tablet? MS should focus on selling to business customers. Consumers can buy other tablets/smartphones and access their MS-related services/data.

            I use a Win8 desktop at home and a Win7 laptop at work. And I still like/use my Win RT tablet and WP8.1 phone. Alot. But to say I am/always will be last in the queue, well, it has made me ponder going back to iOS (or looking into Android) for my phone/tablet.
            mebby
          • It is not just about cold money

            So your advice to MS is that 2 birds in the bush, is better than a bird in the hand? That it is better that MS put its entire ecosystem at risk, in order to grow it in this dubious manner? MS' approach will cause it to be trusted by no one. Especially by its own. And its ecosystem will crumble from underneath it, as it reaches to seed its competitors' ecosystems with its products and services. Absolutely no sane company does what it is trying to do. Which company turns its back on its customers, to pursue others, where in all likelihood, it will gain only a fraction of the profits it now has? I can see a company like Blackberry, which has virtually no hope continuing the way it does, sacrificing its current customer base, in a desperate attempt at getting new customers, to save the company. Even in the above situation, Blackberry would not expect to retain its current customers, as it sacrifices its old business for something new. But MS is not in this situation. When Ballmer left it, MS was one of the most successful tech companies on the planet, churning out increasing profits after increasing profits every quarter. Is MS going abandon its current customer / ecosystem base, which produced all of this, in pursuit of some fool's gold?

            If MS wants to listen people outside its ecosystem, who simply want to remain in their current ecosystem while benefitting from MS services, let it go ahead and do so. I and many others will watch in amazement at how a once remarkable company, crumbled from within, because it didn't even know the basics of how it treat its constituents.
            P. Douglas
          • I've been hearing

            About MS demise for years now. When that happens pls. Let me know.
            Jorge-M
          • I think you misunderstand what Microsoft's main ecosystem is

            it isn't Windows, and hasn't been for a couple of years. Windows is actually a fairly distant third place, as far as their revenue breakout goes.

            Microsoft's main ecosystem is the cloud - Azure, Office 365, XBox Live (the service, not the console), and Skype. People who use these services ARE in their ecosystem.

            The company Ballmer left is even bigger now than when he left it, and the reason for that is Microsoft is a super smart company. They are the only mega-corp that can turn on a dime (witness the Internet.)

            This is a company that will gladly sell you a Surface - but if you own an iPad, will gladly sell you Office 365. Get used to it - this is the Microsoft they've been in the process of becoming since well before Steve Ballmer left.
            Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • It is a strange world

            MS' current business plan boils down to one thing: giving away its competitive edge it built up over the last two decades to its competitors, and receiving some money over it. This is kind of like the U.S. giving away its military secrets to its enemies for cash, and thinking everything will come out alright. I personally am exasperated. I don't understand how MS' board is allowing this. But hey! MS can do what it wants. MS is now about Open Sourcing stuff, even though Open Sourcing stuff makes decidedly less money. I guess it is all about being politically correct. Everybody talks about the cloud, but I don't see where it makes money. Yes it generates revenue, but where are the profits? Cloud leaders like Amazon and Salesfore.com make no money. MS' last quarter cloud profits were pretty small. I suspect Azure isn't making any money. I don't see businesses going into the public cloud anywhere near fully, only because it would be stupid to place your critical assets into someone else's hands instead of your own, when you have the choice. Creating a business model around stupid behavior, never strikes me as a good idea. It may last for a little while, but it will not last long.

            It is interesting to see that of the 3 big computer companies - Apple, MS, and Google - Apple makes by far the most money, by reinventing traditional computer industry ideas and business models. It creates a rich ecosystem around value, and makes very good money from it. All I see MS doing is undertaking these weird experiments of giving away the company's great value it built up over the years to its competitors, and expecting that this will somehow work out, when it has never worked out long term in the past. MS is so focused on members of its competitors' ecosystems, it gladly forsakes its own. MS is not about building up its assets and exploiting them against its competitors for the company's health and the health of its partners and customers, it is about making sure its competitors enjoys its assets, and members of its competitors' ecosystem sing its praises. If this is not bizarre, I don't know what is.
            P. Douglas
          • This is just weird

            They haven't been giving up their competitive edge, where does that even come from? They've been protecting it.

            Best cloud products out there? Yes? Then protect that by making sure that nobody uses anything else (aka Skype, which has been multi-platform since long before the acquisition.)

            Best Office suite? Yes? Then make sure it is broadly available to anyone who wants it, along with an awesome SharePoint in the cloud service backing it up.

            Want Windows to remain an essential client? Then make sure it remains useful on every scale of device... which they've done, more or less. Make sure that there are great thin clients to Windows (RDP.) Offer more value (free upgrades to Windows 8.x)... looks like they've done it to me.

            Let's leave sports on the field of play. Microsoft is in business to make money, not to take the broadsword of righteousness and smiteth the devile ye old Google (or Apple or whatever.) They'll make money from whomever they can make it from, and create value and lockin through whatever means they can make that most attractive to users willing to buy in.
            Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • So you really believe that?

          That there are non US companies that would release to the US market first?
          LOL, most users have no idea where an app company is based.
          thekman58
    • Don't bet on it

      I gave up on Skype for Android long ago. It was horrible and crashed all the time. Between Hangouts, Tango, Qik, OOvoo and who knows what else, Skype is obsolete for me. I'm waiting for the app that uses cell channel for the voice portion and data for the video so there is a guaranteed clear voice portion. Maybe when voLTE hits we'll get it.
      LarsDennert
  • No facetime ghetto

    Hopefully this will reduce the attractiveness of Apple's own quaint little backwater, facetime, to just hairdressers and "geeks" who are anything but usually.
    dc@...
    • I have both Skype and FaceTime on my iTouch

      I find iPhone users tend to favour FaceTime, simply because they don't have to set up any special account, or enter a password anywhere. Plus, no contacts to set up. If a contact on their contact list is known to Apple as a Facetime user, they're just available.

      That said, I am in Skype a lot. You can interact with computer users, Android tablet users, you name it. No ghetto, as you put it.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • Seriously?

        Skype is much better than facetime on iPhone. and as an iPhone user I make calls on Skype for hours everyday.
        OstroNyx
  • What about Android

    No mention about Android. Do we need to read between lines?
    ejespino1127