The other day I overheard a woman at the coffee shop spiritedly conversing on FaceTime with what I can only presume was her mother. The topic of discussion had been the daughter’s holiday trip, and her mom said something that struck a chord with me: why can’t you show me the photos on here? This got me thinking (at which point I stopped listening in, promised). Since its inception, FaceTime has received dreadfully little attention from Apple. The introduction of FaceTime Audio aside, the service practically makes for an absolute freeze-up in an otherwise constantly forward moving software environment.
As consumers, we have become used to companies spending more resources and time on pet projects of theirs and conversely less on comparably idle services, but what is astonishing is that this analogy does not explain the ongoing neglect of FaceTime. Because for all its faults and plainness, FaceTime is tremendously popular. For reasons only known to the Cupertino giant however, it does barely show in the application’s development. To add insult to injury, the lackluster state is likely to persist for yet another year until the next big software update for iOS rolls in. Never mind the fact this means forever in industry years, but it’s even worse because FaceTime is already adrift of the competition.
With that said, it is time for Apple to start play catch-up and resuscitate the service. Since the coffee shop encounter, I have been mulling over how Apple could ramp up the offering realistically in the near future. Here is what I believe is feasible and crucial for FaceTime to implement within the next year:
If you’re a Skype user and frequently use the iPhone or iPad app to keep in touch with people, then you could benefit from knowing how to limit cellular data use to prevent your capped data plan from burning through your limits too quickly.
Fortunately, Skype comes with some options you can use configure to fine-tune your data usage whenever you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Microsoft is launching a new Skype Insider initiative which invites users to download pre-release builds and test upcoming features before they’re rolled out to everyone.
Microsoft already has similar programs available for Windows and the Xbox and now Skype users can sign up online at the Skype Insiders registration form. If you decide to participate in the program, you will be permitted to install pre-release builds of Skype alongside your current version of the app.
Microsoft today refreshed Skype for iPhone and iPod touch and Skype for iPad with the ability to send messages to your Skype contacts using Siri. Just say something along the lines “Send message to John on Skype saying what’s up?” and Siri will do the right thing.
Earlier, the app integrated with iOS 10’s CallKit to make VoIP Skype calls behave like traditional phone calls with Lock screen, Phone, Favorites and Contacts integration.
And earlier this week, Microsoft announced a number of other changes that will be coming to Skype for iOS in the coming weeks.
Apple has recently introduced CallKit, a new framework available to developers that allows them to integrate their VoIP apps with the native Phone app user interface. In essence, this is a great addition that puts VoIP apps at virtually the same level as normal phone calls. Incoming Skype or WhatsApp calls, for example, are now displayed fully on the Lock screen, which is an improvement compared to how these calls were handled prior to iOS 10. Likewise, any call placed or received with a supported VoIP app will be logged into the Phone app like a normal call.
This tight integration of VoIP apps and the native Phone app UI can have a downside for some users who might prefer not to see their recent Skype calls history show up in their Phone app. If you’re one of these people, we’ll show you exactly how to stop Skype from showing recent calls in your Phone app.
Two weeks ago, Microsoft-owned Skype launched a major update with Siri, Phone, Contacts and Lock screen integration, courtesy of iOS 10’s new CallKit framework which allows calls from VoIP apps to behave like normal phone calls.
Today, both Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad received a minor refresh which brings out a toggle for enabling or disabling CallKit integration, the ability to get new contact requests as a notification and under-the-hood fixes and improvements to make the app run more reliably on iOS 10 devices.
Microsoft today announced availability of freshly updated Skype for iOS apps. Bumped to version 6.25, both Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad now include SiriKit support that lets them integrate with Siri so you can call people and send messages using just your voice. The apps also take advantage of CallKit, which allows VoIP Skype calls to behave like normal cellular calls with fullscreen contact images on the Lock screen and integration with Phone’s Recents and Favorites on iSO 10 devices.
Apple’s made a rare move of publishing multiple blog posts to whet our appetite for Siri’s upcoming third-party integration on iOS 10. We already detailed how Siri will work with popular messaging/payments apps and allow you to search photos inside third-party apps like Pinterest, just by using your voice.
Now, we take a closer look at how Apple’s personal digital assistant can interact with VoIP apps like Skype, Vonage and others.
Microsoft today pushed an update to its mobile Skype application for iOS, bumping the app’s version number on the App Store to 6.22. The new edition includes several enhancements related to notifications and Skype Credit, which can now be purchased from within the app in more currencies than before. Skype for iPhone and iPad are available free on the App Store.
Microsoft has made closing Skype accounts more convoluted than it needs to be. It’s understandable that no online provider would advertise the account deletion option front and center. With that in mind, permanently deleting a Skype account is a multi-step process so you’ll typically need to remove payment methods, cancel any subscriptions you may have, unlink your Microsoft account from your Skype account and more.
But don’t your worry, iDownloadBlog’s account-deletion series is here to help. This tutorial will guide you through the steps needed to successfully close your account on Skype the right way. As a bonus, we’ll show you how you can request a refund for your unused credits and unlink your accounts.
You can now call mobile phones and landlines using Skype in a desktop browser, without needing a plug-in. Support for marking phone calls through a browser has been added to Skype Web, a web-based counterpart of the native Skype app, along with several other new features.
For instance, you can now add new people to a conversation, even if they’re not on Skype, enjoy watching YouTube videos without leaving Skype and more.
Microsoft has confirmed that it it will be shutting down Qik, its ephemeral mobile video messaging app which debuted on mobile in October of 2014. Marketed under the Skype brand, the app promised to make video conversations “more spontaneous and fun so you don’t have to wait until your next call to connect with your favorite people.”
Following a few updates, the app has introduced support for the iPhone 6/6s screen sizes and added some new languages and video effects, but not much in way of new features.
As promised, Microsoft has begun rolling out free group video calling in Skype’s mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, Engadget reported this morning.
According to Microsoft, this feature will allow Skype users to video chat with up to 24 other people at once in crisp 1080p resolution, and each participant can flip between the front and back camera mid-call.
Group video calling in mobile Skype apps is going to be available to users in North America and Western Europe. “We plan to be fully available worldwide in March,” said Skype.
Microsoft Outlook is an excellent email client, not just for mobile devices but on desktop platforms, too. And now, it’s about to get a lot better. According to Microsoft, Outlook for Mac now now officially supports Full Screen view for OS X Yosemite and up and OS X’s native full-screen view.
On the mobile front, Outlook for iOS has received a nice little update which brings Skype integration for calendar events so users can now make any meeting a Skype call that can be launched from the calendar event in Outlook.