As most of you know already, Apple has lifted the restrictions against making VoIP calls over a 3G connection, and a handful of apps have already "flipped a switch" behind the scenes to enable such calls. However, the most high-profile VoIP app on the App Store, Skype, has yet to follow suit.
Skype has posted an update on their blog regarding their progress on enabling VoIP over 3G. According to the company, 3G calling is coming "soon" along with a few other updates that will ensure that both the app itself and the calls it makes remain high-quality. The next Skype update will include a call quality indicator for the 3G network similar to the one they already have for Wi-Fi connections -- depending on the strength of your network connection, the indicator will show green, yellow, or red, giving you a rough idea of what quality to expect out of calls on your current network. Skype is also working on implementing a "wideband audio" codec for calls, which the company says will allow for "CD quality sound" on Skype-to-Skype calls. From the sounds of the video below, however, this feature will only be coming to the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch; it's probable that the iPhone 3G and original iPhone lack the processing power necessary to drive Skype's wideband audio codec.
Since the announcement of the lifting of VoIP over 3G restrictions, much speculation has surrounded the possible implementation of VoIP calls on the iPad. The iPad has a microphone, speaker, and Bluetooth, all of which, when paired with a very competitively priced pay-as-you-go and contract-free 3G data plan, make the iPad a very compelling alternative to the iPhone. Skype says it is indeed investigating a Skype for iPad app, but at this very early stage, no further details are available.
We'll keep you posted on the Skype app and let you know when it's updated as soon as we find out. In the meantime, you can watch this brief video from the guys at Skype, where they discuss their progress on the app.