Yesterday Skype announced a major redesign of its iPhone app that was scheduled to hit the App Store sometime next week. For some reason the update is already available. It packs several new features that are designed to make the app easier to use.
The most visible design change is the main window of the app, which now looks very similar to Windows Phone. You can browse a list of recent contacts or favorites along with your entire address book. Navigating through these different lists can be done with a swipe gesture.
Beyond video and audio calling, you can send photos and videos to contacts, even if they’re offline. The app’s call interface has been simplified to let you easily switch in and out of video mode or send some text.
A new in-app notification system can be managed in the app’s settings. The Skype team says notifications have been designed to allow for “for quick conversation switching,” which the app has been sorely lacking.
The app also runs 5x faster than before, according to its developers.
Skype is a free, universal download in the App Store. Version 5.0 only applies to the iPhone, but a matching iPad redesign is in the works.