Skype for iPhone video calling now available; volume shutter app removed

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
As expected, Skype has added a new video calling feature to its iPhone app, giving users an alternate service from Apple's own FaceTime video chat standard. Meanwhile, an app that remapped the iPhone's volume button to serve as a shutter button has been quietly removed from the App Store.



Skype



Last week, reports emerged that Skype was planning to make "a series of video-related announcements" at next month's Consumer Electronics Show. A support document detailing how to make video calls via iPhone served as further evidence of the imminent release of a video-capable Skype iPhone app.



An update to the Skype for iOS app Thursday now enables users to make Skype to Skype video calls over WiFi and 3G with other iOS Skype users or Skype desktop users, Engadget reports. Two-way video calls are only supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch, while iPad and third-generation iPod touch users can receive video calls. Video calling on Skype 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or above.







Skype's launch of video chat on the iPhone and iPod touch will challenge Apple's efforts to get its FaceTime video conferencing standard to catch on. With over 500 million user accounts, Skype has the user base needed to promote rapid adoption of its video call features over Apple's FaceTime.







However, if Skype is to take on Apple over video conferencing, it will need to shore up its servers in preparation for the increased traffic. A software bug on older versions of Skype for Windows caused an embarrassing massive outage of the Skype service last week, lasting 24 hours. As a conciliatory gesture, Skype is reportedly offering 30 minutes of talk time to some users affected by the outage.



For its part, Apple has moved aggressively to bring FaceTime to the bulk of its devices. In September, Apple updated the iPod touch to include a forward-facing camera and FaceTime capability. In October, Apple announced it was bringing FaceTime to the Mac.



Rumors abound that the second-generation iPad will include FaceTime-ready cameras when it is released next year. In September, AppleInsider exclusively reported that a FaceTime-enabled iPad had already advanced to testing stages and remained on track for an introduction "no later than the first quarter of next year."



Apple built Facetime using open standards, including IETF standards and familiar codecs such as H.264 video and AAC audio, in the hopes of establishing it as the dominant service in the emerging video call market.



Shutter bug



The" Quick Snap - Camera Plus" app has been quietly taken down from the App Store, with a short-lived run of just two weeks. The developer's Twitter account and Facebook page have yet to provide an explanation for why the app was removed, but the fact that the app was approved at all is itself a fluke.



Released on Dec. 15, "Quick Snap" appeared to violate Apple's developer agreement, which forbids button remapping. The popular "Camera +" app was pulled from the App Store in August for including an 'easter egg' feature that reconfigured the volume button as a shutter button. "Camera +" returned to the App Store last week with a version 2.0 update packing more than 50 new features, but no sign of the "VolumeSnap" feature.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As expected, Skype has added a new video calling feature to its iPhone app, giving users an alternate service from Apple's own FaceTime video chat standard. Meanwhile, an app that remapped the iPhone's volume button to serve as a shutter button has been quietly removed from the App Store.



    Skype



    Last week, reports emerged that Skype was planning to make "a series of video-related announcements" at next month's Consumer Electronics Show. A support document detailing how to make video calls via iPhone served as further evidence of the imminent release of a video-capable Skype iPhone app.



    An update to the Skype for iOS app Thursday now enables users to make Skype to Skype video calls over WiFi and 3G with other iOS Skype users or Skype desktop users, Engadget reports. Two-way video calls are only supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch, while iPad and third-generation iPod touch users can receive video calls. Video calling on Skype 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or above.







    Skype's launch of video chat on the iPhone and iPod touch will challenge Apple's efforts to get its FaceTime video conferencing standard to catch on. With over 500 million user accounts, Skype has the user base needed to promote rapid adoption of its video call features over Apple's FaceTime.







    However, if Skype is to take on Apple over video conferencing, it will need to shore up its servers in preparation for the increased traffic. A software bug on older versions of Skype for Windows caused an embarrassing massive outage of the Skype service last week, lasting 24 hours. As a conciliatory gesture, Skype is reportedly offering 30 minutes of talk time to some users affected by the outage.



    For its part, Apple has moved aggressively to bring FaceTime to the bulk of its devices. In September, Apple updated the iPod touch to include a forward-facing camera and FaceTime capability. In October, Apple announced it was bringing FaceTime to the Mac.



    Rumors abound that the second-generation iPad will include FaceTime-ready cameras when it is released next year. In September, AppleInsider exclusively reported that a FaceTime-enabled iPad had already advanced to testing stages and remained on track for an introduction "no later than the first quarter of next year."



    Apple built Facetime using open standards, including IETF standards and familiar codecs such as H.264 video and AAC audio, in the hopes of establishing it as the dominant service in the emerging video call market.



    Shutter bug



    The" Quick Snap - Camera Plus" app has been quietly taken down from the App Store, with a short-lived run of just two weeks. The developer's Twitter account and Facebook page have yet to provide an explanation for why the app was removed, but the fact that the app was approved at all is itself a fluke.



    Released on Dec. 15, "Quick Snap" appeared to violate Apple's developer agreement, which forbids button remapping. The popular "Camera +" app was pulled from the App Store in August for including an 'easter egg' feature that reconfigured the volume button as a shutter button. "Camera +" returned to the App Store last week with a version 2.0 update packing more than 50 new features, but no sign of the "VolumeSnap" feature.



    Does anyone really use FaceTime? it seems like such a great idea until U use it. U have 2 hold the iPhone @ arm's length if U don't want ya face 2 look distorted, & then U have 2 shout @ the phone 2 make yourself heard.



    Besides, most people's faces don't look so good on camera, they're used 2 seeing themselves in a mirror, so the reversed image of their face can B quite jarring, i was so excited to get FaceTime, but on the first use, I decided I need 2 get a wig and extensive plastic surgery..



    (i pilfered this from a tech blog... i would NEVER wear a wig..

    now the plastic surgery well thats another thing all together..)
  • Reply 2 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post


    Does anyone really use FaceTime? it seems like such a great idea until U use it. U have 2 hold the iPhone @ arm's length if U don't want ya face 2 look distorted, & then U have 2 shout @ the phone 2 make yourself heard.



    Besides, most people's faces don't look so good on camera, they're used 2 seeing themselves in a mirror, so the reversed image of their face can B quite jarring, i was so excited to get FaceTime, but on the first use, I decided I need 2 get a wig and extensive plastic surgery..



    (i pilfered this from a tech blog... i would NEVER wear a wig..

    now the plastic surgery well thats another thing all together..)





    Not everyone shares your sentiments. I use facetime quite often... or i should say, I use facetime or an equivalent service, quite often. Usually its with the headphones or somewhere where i don't have to yell to be heard.



    My biggest gripe with FT is the wifi restriction, and the fact that it doesn't prompt you that someone is trying to facetime you if you happen to not be on wifi.



    IMO, if you're not on wifi It should send you a popup saying "Jane doe is trying to FaceTime you" would you like to 1)search for wifi 2) answer if via phonecall. The fact that it makes no noise to indicate that you missed a FT call until after the sender has already given up is ridiculous.. esp since not everyone walks around with their wifi on all the time, even when theres wifi available.



    I've found good use for Tango... a free app that mimics facetime almost feature for feature with the exception that it can be used over 3G or wifi... and it works for Android phones too. The quality seems about on par with FT. Plus, you don't have to make a new screen name, it just finds people in your contact list by phone# or email.



    With Skype now entering the game, I think it opens up the notion to a lot more people, which I think is a good thing.



    My only concern with these varying implementations is that I don't know how they affect battery life. I know FT works very efficiently, and I can only hope Skype does too..
  • Reply 3 of 38
    Skype video over 3G, and to PCs, Mac, even iPhone 3gs....



    Facetime has a wifi restriction, is restricted to calling apple products only, and even then it's restricted to more Apple products than Skype (which is bizarre).



    Skype's a winner here.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    But does it support push-notifications like Tango or Viber does? With the previous version you could only receive calls once you were online. Push would make me stop using Viber instantly.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    I love FaceTime. My girlfriend and I use it all the time. It's installed on my Mac too, and so far the "Beta" has worked flawlessly.

    I totally understand why it's only over WiFi, and don't care.

    In fact I showed it to a friend I work with, and it made him buy an iPod Touch 4th gen for him and his wife; then two weeks later he bought both of his daughters.

    So the power of FaceTime for some people is more powerful than others. I know he didn't buy them ONLY for the FaceTime, but it really helped.



    I had my credit card stollen a year ago and whoever took bought a massive amount of time on Skype. Took forever to clear it up. Because of that little problem I've never even tried to use it.

    Strange, but they also tried to get a Vonage account. I guess they had a lot of talking to do.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    I can't get FaceTime to work among my network devices at home that are connected to the same router. Is it a port forwarding issue? I'd love to be able to check up on my daughter's homework progress without getting up and going into the other room. It doesn't seem to be able to work that way.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    apple also misuses the volume button! apple also violates their own rules! set an alarm and wait until it starts. press the volume UP button, and the alarm will stop!



    if apple would follow its own rules, the alarm sound would have to be louder, but it stops! so obviously APPLE REMAPPED this button in alarm with the SNOOZE function!!!
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    I'd love to be able to check up on my daughter's homework progress without getting up and going into the other room...



    Hmm no parenting award for you!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoejazz View Post


    ...then two weeks later he bought both of his daughters...



    And where did he buy them from?
  • Reply 9 of 38
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member
    Hopefully this will speed up FaceTime over 3G. I use FaceTime often and it is annoying not being able to receive a FaceTime call when I am not in WiFi area.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post


    Besides, most people's faces don't look so good on camera, they're used 2 seeing themselves in a mirror, so the reversed image of their face can B quite jarring, i was so excited to get FaceTime, but on the first use, I decided I need 2 get a wig and extensive plastic surgery.



    Just like with iChat?s Video Chat feature, FaceTime shows a mirror image of the local user.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    "...quietly removed..." As opposed to what? Banging pots and pans together?



    If Apple and at&t allow Skype to do video over 3G, why the heck doesn't FT work over 3G? Jobs quipped that it was the carriers restriction. What gives?
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post




    If Apple and at&t allow Skype to do video over 3G, why the heck doesn't FT work over 3G? Jobs quipped that it was the carriers restriction. What gives?



    Good question. I was wondering the same!
  • Reply 13 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post


    "...quietly removed..." As opposed to what? Banging pots and pans together?



    If Apple and at&t allow Skype to do video over 3G, why the heck doesn't FT work over 3G? Jobs quipped that it was the carriers restriction. What gives?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Good question. I was wondering the same!



    I believe Jobs stated FaceTime of ?3G? was coming in 2011. I also recall him mentioning that some/many carriers need to add support the FaceTime protocol suite and port for it to work appropriately, which I inferred was part of the reason for only starting it on WiFI.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    foobarfoobar Posts: 103member
    Never mind video calls, but that second screenshot shows Push notifications. That's new, too, right?!



    Missing push notifications were the number one thing limiting Skype on iPhone. Did they really fix that? If so, why is nobody reporting that?
  • Reply 15 of 38
    I can see more clearly now why FaceTime is wifi only.. I just tried Skype video call via 3G. And I wouldn't recommend it not only is it bad quality but drains your battery quickly..
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I believe Jobs stated FaceTime of ?3G? was coming in 2011. I also recall him mentioning that some/many carriers need to add support the FaceTime protocol suite and port for it to work appropriately, which I inferred was part of the reason for only starting it on WiFI.



    Maybe he meant the carriers need time to optimize or prioritize video traffic to prevent stutter and stalling during video calls. Makes sense to use open standards for that purpose.



    I haven't tried Skype's 3G video calling yet, but if it's herky jerky and unreliable, than it really doesn't matter that it has a feature that is practically unusable. Again, just saying that the quality of the call will make a big difference.



    Plus Apple was supposed to make FaceTime an OPEN standard. Yes I realize they built it on open standards already, but the entirety of the package known as "FaceTime" is still a specific protocol and Apple failed to deliver it to the public other than within its own products. Maybe it was for competitive reasons, not wanting Android developers to integrate FaceTime into major products before Apple did. Or maybe Steve just changed his mind. Whatever the case, it was a great concept when it was announced, but now 6 months+ into it, I think it's about time to open up the standard before it gets overtaken by something already more established (i.e. Skype).
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by foobar View Post


    Never mind video calls, but that second screenshot shows Push notifications. That's new, too, right?!



    Missing push notifications were the number one thing limiting Skype on iPhone. Did they really fix that? If so, why is nobody reporting that?



    Skype has had Push Notifications for many versions now.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by foobar View Post


    Never mind video calls, but that second screenshot shows Push notifications. That's new, too, right?!



    Missing push notifications were the number one thing limiting Skype on iPhone. Did they really fix that? If so, why is nobody reporting that?



    Well, I don't know about anyone else, but tried using this to see if WiFi was similar in quality to FT and if push notifications worked. Well, notifications don't work and in fact, Skype doesn't even show up in the notifications list of applicable apps.



    And image quality on WiFi was not as clear as FT. Can't imagine how bad 3G would be?



    So, unless you walk around with the Skype app always on, and you like subpar video quality, then this is the app for you.

    I still have it and can use it, the only problem is, I have to call the person first, tell them to initiate Skype, then call them back on Skype. Might as well just make a regular call.



    If they can get Skype to auto-run or provide a notification to give me the option to initiate Skype and a vid call or use the regular phone, then this would be a contender, even with sub-par vid quality.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post


    Well, I don't know about anyone else, but tried using this to see if WiFi was similar in quality to FT and if push notifications worked. Well, notifications don't work and in fact, Skype doesn't even show up in the notifications list of applicable apps.



    And image quality on WiFi was not as clear as FT. Can't imagine how bad 3G would be?



    So, unless you walk around with the Skype app always on, and you like subpar video quality, then this is the app for you.

    I still have it and can use it, the only problem is, I have to call the person first, tell them to initiate Skype, then call them back on Skype. Might as well just make a regular call.



    If they can get Skype to auto-run or provide a notification to give me the option to initiate Skype and a vid call or use the regular phone, then this would be a contender, even with sub-par vid quality.



    I hope the person yo ucalled was also on wifi. I used this with me on wifi and my wife on her 3gs 3g connection. IT was pretty good.



    This is better then facetime because it does video calling on the 3gs also. I was impressed on how well it worked.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post


    I hope the person yo ucalled was also on wifi. I used this with me on wifi and my wife on her 3gs 3g connection. IT was pretty good.



    This is better then facetime because it does video calling on the 3gs also. I was impressed on how well it worked.



    Yes, everything was done inside on our network. Phone and iPod Touch 4G used, separated by 2 feet and only 3 feet from the router. Done at early morning hours for optimum net performance. I'm not saying it was bad quality video, just compared to FT it wasn't nearly as good.



    And yes, the advantage is being able to make Skype vid calls on 3G, however, if the other person doesn't have the Skype app on, it makes no difference. Won't work, so you might as well make a regular call. With Facetime, the phone/iPod Touch just initiates FT, regardless if the app is activated or not.



    Until Skype is able to turn itself on or push notifications to initiate a call, it's just not as convenient as FT.
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