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Updated Skype apps for iPhone & iPad get photo-sharing

Microsoft-owned Skype has released updates for its iPhone and iPad apps, adding a new photo-sharing feature and performance improvements.

The latest versions include a long-awaited feature called Photo Sharing for iOS, which lets users send and receive photos through the app. With the feature, users can find an existing photo from their iPhone or iPad's library, or take a new one, then instant message the photo to a Skype contact.

So what's the benefit of sending photos through Skype, rather than just texting or emailing them? According to Skype, "there's no limit on the size of the file you can send, so you can send photos without reaching email size limits or paying expensive MMS charges."

In addition, Skype said it tweaked the apps to reduce battery drain and improve navigation speed. The reduction in battery drain is important because users often want to keep the app running on their mobile device at all times so they can answer Skype calls throughout the day when they come in. Also, the app itself and the contact list will now load faster, letting users Skype with their friends and family even quicker.

Users can download the updates in the App Store now. The iPad update supports any version of the tablet running iOS 4.3 or later, while the iPhone update is available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 or 4S, and the third generation iPod touch.

Meanwhile, Skype last month rolled out a fix for a bug that mistakenly sent users' IMs to unknown third parties. Not all Skype users were affected by the error. The service estimated that it hit those on certain versions of Skype for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Windows Phone.