Skype today announced a major update to its iPhone app that sports a radical new design, in line with the Windows Phone Metro design language. The update comes at the time when Skype, once the leader in IM, is facing intense competition from mobile services like WhatsApp, iMessage etc.
The updated app will feature a navigation style that resembles Windows Phone apps with a thin toolbar at the bottom, and the Panorama Control menu at the top to switch between recent, favorites etc. The update will unify Skype’s mobile design across iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Skype’s calling it v5.0, and there are a lot of features apart from the new design:
- Faster: You’ll notice the effort we’ve put into this overhaul as soon as you launch Skype 5.0 for iPhone. The new version is over 5 times faster than the old version.
- Smoother: As you swipe from conversations through to your favorites and then back to your contacts lists, you’ll notice how smooth scrolling and transitioning from screen to screen is – with delightful little pops and animations punctuating them. All without degrading the performance and battery improvements we worked so hard to achieve.
- More Integrated: Now, iPhone users can start group chats from the hub. And when you send messages or photos, it doesn’t matter if the recipient is offline. Everyone will see your message as soon as they are available again.
- Smarter: We know our users are using Skype on multiple devices, and we want to make sure your Skype notifications keep pace with your conversations, no matter where they happen. Now, as you read your messages on your PC, tablet, Xbox and so on, those conversations will be marked as read (or unread if new messages come in) on your iPhone too.
The update isn’t live on the App Store yet, but will available sometime next week. The iPad app will also be updated with the new design, Skype says, but its exact timeframe isn’t known.
Here are a couple more screenshots of Skype for iPhone 5.0:
Let us know what you think about the new design in the comments below.