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Skype for iPad launched then un-launched

The long-awaited iPad Skype app - designed to give Apple's own Facetime video chat app a run for its money - launched earlier today, only to be removed by the company at the last minute.

The app, which brings the same Skype functionality that the iPhone has enjoyed to its scaled-up brother, has been on the cards for a while but with no official launch date. Imagine the excitement that built when Skype unceremoniously released the app on to the iTunes App Store earlier today, bringing Skype text, voice, and video chat to the device for the first time.

More importantly, Skype has the ability to video chat over a 3G mobile network, something that Apple's own Wi-Fi-only Facetime fails to offer. While Apple has promised the introduction of 3G Facetime chatting later this year, many iPhone users have turned to Skype to talk face-to-face on the go.

Now, imagine the disappointment that users felt when the app was yanked from the store after just a few hours with nary an explanation from the voice-over-IP specialist. While the company's official blogs are silent on the matter, the company's Twitter stream offers a small insight into the issue.

"To ensure your best Skype experience," the company tweets, "we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today. We know you've been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologise for the inconvenience."

We have contacted Skype to find out when the app will be officially launched, but have yet to receive a response to our query.

UPDATE 1510:

Skype has been in touch to say that the app is now officially live, but has not offered an explanation for its earlier removal. More information is available on the Skype Blog.