Skype for the iPad appears – then disappears again

Skype – inadvertently, it seems – yesterday whetted the appetite of its customers by temporarily releasing the iPad version of its video chat software.

The iPad-optimised version of the app started appearing in App Stores yesterday, starting in New Zealand. But soon after, Skype pulled it.

“To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today,” explained the company on its Twitter feed.

“We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience.”

The app makes the most of the iPad’s larger screen; up to now, users have been forced to use the iPhone version and blow the image up. It also, unlike the iPhone version, allows instant messaging at the same time as video chat.

It also gives iPad users video chat over 3G as well as Wifi, while Apple’s own video chat feature, FaceTime, is Wifi-only. It only allows two-way video calling on the iPad 2, though, with users of the first-generation machine restricted to receiving vode only. It requires iOS 4.0 or above.

The service appears to include pay-as-you-go as well as a monthly subscription option; users who already have a Skype account will find their contacts synced when they first sign in.

Those that downloaded it during its short availability say it’s great.