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Thursday, June 12, 2014, 09:51 am PT (12:51 pm ET)

Skype for iOS gets Windows Phone-style makeover with version 5.0

Microsoft on Thursday unleashed an all-new version of its popular Skype messaging application for iOS, bringing a visual overhaul that matches the app to its Windows Phone counterpart and a number of improvements to speed and stability.




The most noticeable difference in the user interface — aside from the larger, thinner typography — is the shift from traditional iOS-style tabbed navigation to the trademark swipe gesture used to move between views on Windows Phone. Skype's navigation bar now features just two buttons, allowing quick access to the dialer and chats.

Microsoft says that the new "remastered" version is more than 5 times faster than its predecessor, and the company also promises improvements for users who use Skype on multiple devices. Reading a message on one device will now mark it read on other devices, a welcome improvement.

Additionally, iPhone users can now initiate group chats and the app features in-app notifications to quickly move between conversations.

Initially scheduled to drop next week, Skype for iPhone version 5.0 has been appearing seemingly randomly in regional App Stores around the world throughout the day Thursday. The shaky rollout now seems to be complete, and users can get the app as a free, 44.7-megabyte download from the App Store.