According to Skype they are working towards a multitasking iOS 4 update for the immensely popular iPhone VoIP app. But some fear that they may be dragging their feet as they wait to see what the impact of FaceTime will be.
Is this really a healthy attitude for Skype to take?
The official line from Skype is as follows:
With every update to the iPhone OS (now called iOS), Apple introduces a number of changes to the software. In order to make sure we give you the best experience possible, we need to carry out some additional tests with the final version of iOS 4.
When we’re confident that the app will live up to your high expectations, we’ll make it available for download. Stay tuned!
Reading between the lines, the “changes” they refer to are more likely hardware changes – like the video calling HW in iPhone 4 – as Apple’s OS updates, assuming you use documented APIs, are very smooth for most developers.
For those with good recall they will remember that Skype was part of Apple’s iOS 4 demo back in March of this year. But FaceTime was not officially known about then.
Some may also be aware that Skype have blown alternately hot and cold about FaceTime, since it was announced when the iPhone 4 was officially demoed at WWDC.
On the one hand Skype were saying that they’d like to include the FaceTime protocol in Skype, and work with Apple. But only a few days later they were saying that they saw issues with doing so. They hinted at technical and format issues. But I suspect it may be more to do with Apple’s conditions on working with FaceTime at this early stage in its market penetration.
As we see it there are four possible scenario’s here..
1. Skype are just late.
2. Skype are working to embrace FaceTime.
3. Skype are waiting to see where FaceTime goes before committing to iPhone further.
4. Skype are going to wow us all with their own video calling implementation?
Option 3 seems foolish. Option 2 or 4 seem to be the best path to choose for everyone involved; Apple, Skype and Consumers. But perhaps Apple will resist a video calling rival on their own platform?
With a massive installed user base Skype should try to consolidate and perhaps even challenge FaceTime with their own video calling options, if they can’t get direct access to FaceTime. Perhaps that is just what they are working towards.
Whatever the truth of the matter. Don’t expect an update soon. Skype have traditionally been late to the iPhone party with any software offerings so far.
Are Skype working with, or getting ready to challenge Apple? Or simply late? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.