Skype has launched its video-calling service for the Apple iPhone, a week earlier than many expected – with more announcements from the VoIP specialist due at CES 2011 in Las Vegas early next month.

So if you have an iPhone 4 and want to make Skype-to-Skype video calls with others (either on their iPhones or PCs/Macs) then you can grab the latest version of Skype's iOS app from iTunes today.

The video calling app will work over Wi-Fi or 3G, although initial tests show that the video quality and stuttering on 3G video calls are somewhat compromised when compared with the smooth flowing moving images on Wi-Fi.

Significantly better video-calls

"Video calling significantly enhances the user experience of Skype for iPhone, which is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple," said the company.

"Now, users can make and receive free Skype-to-Skype calls, call mobiles and landlines around the world at very low rates, and now share more moments together with video on Skype for iPhone,"

The new Skype for iPhone app will also work with the with the iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with iOS 4.0 or above – although obviously only allowing the caller to send video from the single camera on the back of the phone or iPod in those cases.

iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad will both be able to receive video calls, but not send them, due to the lack of video-shooting capabilities on those devices.

Skype from phone to PC

Most excitingly, for many Skype users, video calls can now be made between your PC or Mac laptop or desktop and your iOS device.

Your desktop client will need to be Skype for Windows 4.2 or above (or Skype for Mac 2.8 and above) – plus the app will also work with other desktop clients and devices such as Skype for Linux and the Asus-manufactured standalone Skype Videophone.

The Skype for iPhone application is freely available to download from the Apple App Store – for more head to www.skype.com/go/iphone