Microsoft Unveils iPhone 6 Plus-Friendly Skype 5.6 App

Microsoft updates its Skype app for iOS to accommodate Apple's popular, pixel-packed phablet.

Skype 5.6 for iPhone 6 Plus

Apple's super-sized smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus, is influencing how developers code their iOS apps.

Microsoft today announced the release of Skype 5.6 for iPhone. The app update "brings an optimized, scaled UI to the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ screen sizes," wrote Skype product marketing manager Lara Kingwell in an Oct. 15 blog post.

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which hit store shelves on Sept. 19, not only captivated a record-setting number of buyers (10 million and counting), they won over tech reviewers as well. The main draw: bigger screens.

In his review of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, eWEEK's Don Reisinger noted: "Apple's larger handset comes with a 5.5-inch screen, easily dwarfing the 4-inch version in my old iPhone 5. While it is striking at first blush, the screen's beauty cannot be underestimated."

Not only does the screen look good, it provides a spacious canvas for pictures, videos and apps.

Reisinger continued, "Apple's Retina HD display is packed with 401 pixels per inch, giving it outstanding resolution when watching video or scrolling through images on Facebook. The size also helps in those endeavors. With the bigger screen comes more real estate to enjoy videos or images."

Even the smaller iPhone 6 provides an eye-pleasing mobile experience. "Once I received and unpacked the iPhone 6, the improvement in size was obvious. I didn't need to squint to read the screen, and the screen was big enough to reduce the error rate when I typed," observed Wayne Rash in his review for eWEEK.

Not letting those pixels go to waste, Microsoft has devised a user interface (UI) that adapts to the type of iPhone in use. "On an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+, Skype 5.6 displays more of your recent chats and shows more messages in conversation view, helping you to communicate with your friends and family quickly and simply," Kingwell wrote.

"Now, whether you're using an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 6+, you'll get the best Skype experience for your screen size," she added.

"Skype 5.6 for iPhone is our second release that continues to build on the new iOS 8 extensions," said Kingwell. In Skype's case, the new iOS extensions also allow the app to display interactive notifications and enables users to answer voice and video calls, or conduct text chat, directly from the iPhone lock screen or notification center.

October is turning into an Apple-focused month for Microsoft's Skype division. Last week, it released the Skype 7.0 desktop client for Mac. In addition to going 64-bit and sharing a unified UI with the Windows version of the software, the Skype for Mac now supports one-click, simultaneous video calling and chat.

"With the new side-by-side design, you can effortlessly multi-task on a voice or video call. Share messages, photos or files for a more active conversation together, without ever leaving your call," Tom Huang, a Microsoft product marketing manager, blogged at the time.

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 network of...