Updated: After initially removing the Skype for iPad app from the App Store, the company has announced that it is once again available.
Updated: Skype has pulled the app, announcing, via Twitter: "To ensure your best Skype experience, we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today."
The app works over both WiFi and 3G and takes advantage of the front-facing camera included on the iPad 2 by offering one-on-one video chat. Until now, iPad owners had to settle for the iPhone version of Skype, which of course operates at a fraction of the screen size (or in a somewhat distorted fullscreen mode).
This version takes much better advantage of the iPad's screen size and form factor. Upon launching the app, you'll see the avatars of your contacts laid out in a grid. Tap the likeness of any contact to see their user details and initiate a voice call, video chat or IM conversation with them. You'll also see any recent or active chats and chat rooms in which you're a participant.
In our initial testing, the app ran smoothly and kept perfectly in sync with the desktop version of Skype. When you launch it for the first time, it may take a minute or two for all of your active chats to load, especially if you have any ongoing group chat rooms. Like its iPhone and iPod Touch counterparts, the iPad version of Skype supports push notifications, alerting you of new chat messages as you receive them.
Owners of the first generation iPad obviously won't be able to particpate fully in video chats but can recieve and view video calls from other users.
Skype users have been clamoring for an iPad-specific application for some time, especially since the iPad 2 was announced, which of course launched with support for Apple's FaceTime video chat feature. Shortly after the second generation of Apple's tablet was announced in March 2011, a representative from Skype said on the company's user forum that the device's release had "sent our Skype development team back to the drawing board to completely redesign the user experience and feature set for a version of Skype befitting this innovative device." Five months later, Skype for iPad is here.