A native Skype app for the iPad has finally appeared, opening up your Apple slate for voice and video chatting with others on Macs, PCs or even TVs. It's not listed as an update to the existing iOS app, but as a separate Skype for iPad download that's only shown up in certain countries so far -- at first we couldn't find it on the US iTunes but it finally appeared after some searching. Just like Skype for iPhone, everything works over both WiFi and 3G, but one key difference is the ability to instant message during video calls. Check after the break for the full release notes and the demo video that leaked in June.

Update: So, we've just taken the app for a quick spin via a 3G to WiFi call and it's laid out very nicely -- maintaining the familiarity of its desktop client. Getting a video chat started was quick with acceptably clean audio and mostly consistent video streaming (aside from an occasional freeze-frame). Whether you're in landscape or portrait mode there's access to recent conversations, and you can even start conversations within your current chat; we'd say that the former works out better for getting around, although it does make it hard to stay in frame. Overall it feels like a souped-up version of the iPhone release, and impressions aside, the gallery down below should give you a better look at what to expect.

Update 2: Just as suddenly as it appeared, it has now been yanked from iTunes stores everywhere. A Tweet from the official account says it went live "prematurely" -- your guess is as good as ours as to when it will return.

Update 3: Aaaaand... she's back! Or, at least it sure looks like it. Hopefully for good this time!

Skype for iPad hands-on

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Description

Skype for iPad

Bring your Skype contacts closer with full screen video at your fingertips.
Beautiful and simple, this is Skype built especially for the iPad. Call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype. Plus, if you add a little Skype Credit, call landlines and mobiles at really low rates.

Simple to use:
• Join Skype on your iPad in a few moments or just sign straight in to your account.
• If you already have a Skype account, your Skype contacts will automatically be there on your iPad.
• We've made adding new Skype contacts really easy.
• Once they're in your Contact list, call, video or instant message them in one touch.
• Flick through recent calls and instant messages in your Skype for iPad history.
• Skype for iPad works over Wi-Fi or 3G (operator data charges may apply). Call Skype contacts on their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac and even Skype enabled TVs.

Access free Skype features:
• Talk face-to-face or show what you're seeing with front and back-facing cameras.
• Use Skype for iPad to call anyone else on Skype – and enjoy near CD quality (SILK) sound.
• Instant message and add emoticons to personalize your messages.

Then unlock even more features when you pay a little:
• Make cheap calls to landlines or mobiles from your iPad.
• Get an Online Number from Skype so people can call you on your iPad.

If you want to unlock these extra features, you can pay in a way that suits you.
• Pay As You Go with Skype Credit - great for when you're using Skype every now and again.
• Pay monthly with a subscription – best if you use Skype a lot.

System requirements:
• Skype video calling requires iOS 4.0 or above.
• Send and receive video using front or back camera on iPhone 4, iPad 2nd Generation, and iPod touch 4th Generation.
• Send and receive video using rear camera on iPhone 3GS.
• Receive video only on iPad 1st Generation and iPod touch 3rd Generation.
• Works with any H264 compatible devices, including TVs.

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Skype for iPad is finally out (hands-on!)