Skype Reveals Redesigned iOS App With Chat Bots and Snapchat-Like 'Highlights' Feature [Updated]

by

Microsoft today introduced an enhanced, all-new version of Skype for iOS and Android devices that puts an emphasis on chats, chatbots, camera features, and its own version of Snapchat's Stories. The update comes with an overall change to Skype's visual design as well, with the company stating that it's decided to focus on allowing personal user choice to dictate how sections of the app look, including the ability to customize the app with your favorite color.

Skype's home screen now sits with a "Chat" window on launch, and users can easily swipe to the Camera and new "Highlights" feature, which is an extended version of Stories. Here, users can take a picture or video, decorate it with emojis and text, and then post it to their Highlight. After posting, content is available for a full week instead of just 24 hours, and only users who follow you can see your Highlight. Specific individuals and groups can also be sent a Highlight before it's posted.

microsoft skype update
Skype has also introduced Facebook-like reactions to both chats and Highlights, allowing users to select emojis to react to messages, pictures, and videos without having to text. In a talk with TechCrunch, Skype didn't balk at admitting it was inspired by Snapchat Stories, pointing out Facebook's own argument that the "Story" model is a format that can be used by anyone in the industry and isn't owned by Snapchat.

Highlights are Skype’s own take on Stories – something the company readily admits. “It’s like Facebook has said,” says Amritansh Raghav, Corporate Vice President of Skype, referencing remarks made by Facebook’s VP of messaging David Marcus, who recently argued that Stories “is definitely a format, the same way the feed is a format.”

Raghav agrees. The feed is now commonly used in a range of apps – even those that aren’t personal social networks, like Microsoft’s business communications service Yammer. “There’s a new medium that has risen,” he says of Stories. “When you think about this new way of interacting, [we want that to be] available also in this application.”

Microsoft is also introducing its smart assistant Cortana into Skype, providing shortcuts to users in texts and suggesting quick responses. Other bots, or "add-ins," include Gfycat, Giphy, MSN Weather, Bing, Polls, Expedia, Stubhub, BigOven, YouTube, and Upworthy.


Less emphasized in the update are Skype's traditional video call features, although they have received a few overhauls as well. Users will now be able to send large emojis over video chats, as well as text messages, stickers, and photos that appear as an overlay on the screen. Skype said that in the future it plans to introduce gaming features into video calls and the ability to synchronize and watch streaming videos together, rumored to begin with videos from YouTube, similar to Google's own UpTime app.

The Skype update launches on Android first today, and is set to roll out to iOS devices in about a month. Mac and Windows devices will receive the update sometime within the next few months.

Update June 28: The "new Skype" has now launched on the iOS App Store, with the app's update notes stating: "It's the Skype that you know and love but enhanced with new features to help you connect with the people you care about."

Tag: Skype

Top Rated Comments

67952 Avatar
48 months ago
Jesus H Christ....Does every messenger and communications app nowadays need to be redesigned to appeal to the teenage crowd? How many messenger apps need the ability to squiggle pointless doodles on photos and videos? This is getting ridiculous.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleaker Avatar
48 months ago
They are trying to appeal to a market that isn't interested while abandoning a market that's been loyal.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
48 months ago
When corporations try to appeal to young users / copy Snapchat.

Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dan9700 Avatar
48 months ago
Tech has taken a bad hit to appeal to kids in primary school
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nnoble Avatar
48 months ago

Jesus H Christ....Does every messenger and communications app nowadays need to be redesigned to appeal to the teenage crowd? How many messenger apps need the ability to squiggle pointless doodles on photos and videos? This is getting ridiculous.

You beat me to it; glitzed up, dumbed down, built for teens to keep them glued to their mobile idiot boxes. How many decent apps have been destroyed by big enterprises who can't leave sodding well alone.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmilo Avatar
48 months ago
At this stage Excel really is going to have stories at some point
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...