Skype for Mac 1.3 out now
Well, the Mac team at Skype is very happy to deliver its latest update: Skype for Mac OS X 1.3. Skype’s Mac group has been busy listening to the Mac community, adding new features and polishing the fit and finish of every aspect of our Mac client. Skype’s new Mac version adds: improved call quality, Multi-chat, drag and drop contacts, a new services and alert interface, a red badge on our dock icon, API support, animated emoticons, support for selecting multiple contacts, better support for “Do-Not-Disturb” mode, Growl support, improved keyboard commands and tool-tips.
Oh, and one more thing…a Widget! The Skype Widget 1.02 lets Tiger OS X 10.4 users look up international calling codes, check Skype’s rates and place calls to Skype names and phone numbers, all from a handy widget. Check it out.
]]> ### Mac-Only Features
Of course Skype’s Mac group especially wants the Mac community to know about features in Skype for Mac OS X 1.3 that are exclusive to Mac. Don’t get us wrong, Skype’s versions for other platforms are excellent, but we know that the Mac community loves to see Mac-Only and First-On-Mac features, so here are a few:
Select many contacts to start Multi-Chats and Conference Calls: Select several contacts, press call, and you’ve got a instant conference call. Do the same and press the Instant Message button and you get a multi-chat with your selected contacts in one click.
Drag and Drop to Call: if you want to create a conference call you can just drag and drop one or up to three contacts to an existing call and then bingo, your call is transformed into a conference call.
Unified Chat: Skype’s Mac version exclusively lets you manage all your chats in one window thanks to a neat drawer interface that works a lot like the Tabs in Safari. (See the Chat preference panel if you don’t already have this set.) In fact, in this release we’ve added support for the same navigational key commands that you’d find in other Tab enabled applications. So Apple-W closes the Tab. Apple-Shift-Left or Right selects the next or previous tab. The result is a compact interface that lets you quickly carry on several simultaneous conversations all in one window.
One of the most significant features to come out of beta for our Mac client is support for Multi-Chat. With Multi-Chat you can create a group instant messaging session for up to 50 contacts. This is a feature we use like crazy within Skype. One of the big advantages of the way Skype handles group chat is that if you are in a Multi-Chat and you go offline, whenever you return Skype catches you up on the messages you’ve missed. It may not sound like a big deal on its own but this one feature makes Skype an incredible collaboration tool for large group projects. It is like a bulletin board or IRC chat, all in a simple server-less encrypted instant messaging system. Try it out with your friends, family or work-mates.
### API Support
Skype for Mac OS X 1.3 is our first non-beta release for Mac with Skype API support. Skype API support is really for programmers, so that they can make software that can work directly with Skype. Mac software developers now have a new powerful way to place calls without the need for special hardware or phone lines beyond a simple internet connection. Also, thanks to Skype API support, you will now begin to see better support on Mac from third party devices. For example you’ll soon see devices like USB phones with dial-pads that work. See our developer support area for more information on using the Skype API.
### Events and Services Interface
You’ll probably notice that Skype for Mac OS X 1.3 has one less tab in its main window. We figure you need to see if you have a new voicemail or alert whenever you have them, so we’ve added a way to see new events and services all the time. This works especially well while in “Do-Not-Disturb” mode. All new chat messages are stored for you while you concentrate on another task and whenever you are ready re-engage with the world, your chats and alerts are quietly waiting.
### Growl Support
If you are not using Growl already on your Mac, well we can’t force you to use it, but we’d like to encourage you to try it. Growl is a simple, free addition to the Mac OS that provides a unified notification engine for all applications. With Growl you can pick from several notification styles and can customize how and when notifications are delivered. The team at Growl has created a special documentation page for using Skype and Growl. Really, it’s so simple not much instruction is needed. Just download and install Growl and be sure you turn on Growl support in Skype’s Advanced preferences panel. If you like, you can later customize how Growl works and what Skype events are displayed by Growl. See Growl’s System Preferences panel once its installed.
So that’s a sampling of cool stuff in our Skype for Mac OS X 1.3. We are really glad to have this out – but we are not stopping. Look for more Mac updates in the near future.