Voice Messages Return in Skype 5.2 for iPhone

Microsoft restores features that were lost when the company rolled out last month's major revamp of its Skype app for iPhone.

Skype logo

Microsoft has issued the second update to its new Skype app for iPhone less than a month after it was released, the company announced on July 7.

Skype 5.2 for iPhone brings back a feature that was conspicuously missing in the "remastered" 5.0 release, namely voice messages, revealed Skype Product Marketing Manager Gary Wong in a statement. "When you receive a new voice message from someone, it will show up in the conversation," he said in a statement.

Skype 5.x for iPhone features updated visuals, including iOS-like conversations that consolidate text and video messages from Skype contacts into a single view. Now, Microsoft has added recorded voice messages to the mix. "To listen, just press play," instructed Wong.

Also making a return is the ability to dive deeper into a user's contact information. Users can now "tap on any contact in your people list and then select profile from the '…' [ellipsis] menu" to view a contact's mood message along with other particulars, including birthday, location and Skype handle. Contact profiles can also now be accessed during 1-to-1 conversations by tapping the contact name in the header area.

In addition, the updated app streamlines the process of adding more folks to in-progress conversations. "Tap on the '…' menu in the bottom right corner of any conversation (1 to 1 or group), and you'll be presented with a shiny new 'add participants' option," stated Wong.

Skype 5.2 for iPhone is emblematic of the company's accelerated software release cadence. In a departure from its packaged software past, the new "mobile-first, cloud-first" Microsoft is settling into a pattern of rapidly iterating on its products and delivering those improvements quicker.

The strategy is not only evident in mobile apps like Skype, but also in its Windows 8 OS and enterprise offerings including Dynamics CRM and Office 365. Even its hardware division appears to be getting in on the act with the Surface Pro 3, which went on sale just eight months after its predecessor, the Pro 2.

One downside of this approach is that fans of previous versions may be forced into upgrading their software. Last month, Microsoft announced that it would stop supporting some fairly recent versions of the Skype desktop software for Windows and Mac.

"As we look ahead to the future, we're focusing our efforts on bringing the latest and greatest to the most recent versions of Skype," wrote Skype manager Tom Huang in a June 20 blog post. Facing retirement "over the next few months" are Skype for Windows desktop 6.13 and below and Skype for Mac 6.14 and below, he added.

For reference, the Skype 6.13 for Windows software client was released on Jan. 22. Skype 6.14 for the Mac saw the light of day on Feb. 19.

Once Microsoft pulls the plug, those versions will be rendered functionally obsolete. In a follow-up from Shana Pearlman, content marketing manager at Skype, she said that "once a version is retired, users will no longer be able to sign into the retired version until they upgrade to the latest version of Skype."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...