Skype 5.0 for Mac released with UI tweaks

Skype has announced a final release for version 5 of its Mac client, bringing it in line with Windows. Skype for Mac 5.0 was originally released as a public beta last November, and immediately brought an outcry from enraged Mac users unhappy with the redesigned interface, which had been tweaked to bring it into line with the Windows version.

As a result, Skype has made a number of tweaks to this final version that aim to address the criticisms. It also brought back full-screen video chat and made it easier to view and hide the chat options when in a conversation. However, the final release also means that group video chat -- which was previously free in the beta version -- is now a premium feature, with a day pass costing $4.99, and a monthly subscription costing $8.99. A 7-day trial is included within the latest release.

Most of the criticisms leveled at Skype for Mac 5 have been over its user interface, which many felt was too large and intrusive for a chat application. Consequently, Skype for Mac's window has been trimmed so that it can be shrunk much smaller, making it possible to keep it to one side of the desktop in a manner similar to the previous version. The contact list has also been compacted to allow 30 percent more contacts to be seen at once, while the contacts monitor has now been made more accessible through the window menu.

The application's user interface has been trimmed elsewhere, too, to make it look and feel less intrusive, with white space cut from the sidebar and instant messages.

Skype for Mac 5 is available now, and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) or later. Skype is also available for Windows and Linux.

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