Skype for iPhone and iPad updated with Microsoft accounts, animated Retina emoticons

Microsoft's Skype communications apps for iPhone and iPad have been updated to version 4.2. New features include the ability to chat with Messenger, Hotmail, and, and merge them all together into one, happy, mega-Microsoft account. If you're a first timer, you can now create an account from within the app.

You can also tap and hold to edit messages now, choose emoticons while typing, and -- terrifically or horrifically, depending on your point of view -- use animated emoticons in full on Retina quality. (I'm firmly in the latter camp -- I'd pay good money for a Skype update that killed animated emoticons dead. For everyone. Because, my eyes. My eyes.) There's also the usual round of bug fixes.

If you haven't used Skype yet, it remains much like democracy -- terrible except when compared to everything else. It's cross-platform, more reliable than most, and enjoys full background access on iOS (though keep an eye on your battery while it's active). If you're already a Skype user, it's a no-brainer update. Go get it.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.