Ask most people about internet telephony and they’ll probably think of Skype. After all, it’s the most popular service of this kind in the world and available of a wide range of devices. But Skype isn’t the only internet telephony service out there; far from it! In fact, there are thousands of services all over the world using open standards that provide the ability to make and receive phone calls over the internet.
No matter which service you choose to go with, you’re going to need an app to actually make and receive calls. Telephone, as you may have already guessed, is a VoIP client that provides this functionality. I put the app through it’s paces and see if it really does what its name suggests.
Hot and fresh off the presses, here’s Mac AppStorm’s weekly news roundup.
Skype has released the latest public update to its popular VOIP software, version 5.6, which brings full-screen support for Lion users, a wealth of bug fixes and a slightly overhauled user interface. The update can either be downloaded directly from Skype’s website or via the app itself (click on “Check for Updates”).
With Microsoft splashing out a few dollars on Skype this week, the communication platform has once again hit the headlines. The numbers are impressive – 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 is nothing to be laughed at, and it’s clear that this medium is growing in a big way.
Although Apple has had a foot in the door with iChat for several years, FaceTime has been their major foray into video communication – initially on the iPhone, and now also on the Mac. It’s been almost a year since the technology was announced at WWDC 2010, but I believe that FaceTime still has a long way to come – as does the whole concept of video communication – before it becomes a pervasive technology.
Way back when I first became aware of the existence of a technology that could allow mobile handset-handset video chatting, my mind was thoroughly blown. Surely this was something that was only possible in the movies, and couldn’t exist in the real world, right?
But it was indeed possible. And long after it first became possible, Apple did what they always do, and refined power and utility down to awesomeness and perfection.
With the announcement of the iPhone 4, Apple announced to eagerly awaiting fans everywhere that their mobile device to trump all mobile devices would be capable of video chatting.
Skype is one of those programs that is used by almost everyone in one way or another. Whether you have it open all day, or just fire it up to chat with family when you’re away on holiday, most Mac users will have encountered it at some point.
Last week, Skype announced the release of a new Beta for Mac users – Skype 5.0. This new version takes a radical departure from the old Skype interface, in an effort to adopt a “one window” approach and make using the app much simpler.
Although I really like the thinking behind this new version – tighter OS X integration, and a simpler interface – I was really disappointed with a few aspects of the design. Most notably the spacing between elements, which quickly becomes a complete nightmare if you have a long list of contacts.
At the very least, I’d have expected an option to scale down the font size, or switch to a more compact view. At present, it feels like the “one window” approach uses up twice as much desktop space, while only showing half the information I’m used to.
If you haven’t tried it yet, download the beta and let us know what you think! Do you agree with me, or are you impressed with the new, roomier interface?