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You can now constantly run Skype in the background because of the iPhone iOS 4’s multitasking system. While I recently wrote that lawyers do not need the iPhone 4, if you can afford the new phone, or have an iPhone 3GS, consider using Skype as your office phone.

Skype is cheap

Skype costs $2.99/month for unlimited calls. Recently, the company announced that using Skype over AT&T’s 3G network will not result in an additional user fee (they previously said it would).

In other words, if you are paying for a data plan on an iPhone, you can now use that data usage to cover Skype. That means you can have a personal number, and a Skype number as your business number, on the same phone. Google Voice is great, but it also uses your actual minutes. Skype over 3G does not.

The advantage to using Skype as your number, versus using a mobile number for your business, is that you can use Skype from your computer, from your home computer, or you can even buy a handset. It is cheap, and you can access the number from a variety of devices.

Skype can now constantly run in the background

Without the multitasking of iOS 4, Skype is severely handicapped. You can still use it on an iPhone, but you cannot use any other application simultaneously. If you are making the most of your iPhone, you can use it for more than phone calls, and not being able to multitask does limit the utility.

With iOS4, however, Skype can always be in the background. When you get an incoming call, a little dialog box pops up to let you know. That means you can be reading or sending email, and still get notified when a call is coming in.

You can multitask on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS

Given the possible reception issues (which appear to have been remedied), you might be leery of the iPhone 4. For lawyer purposes, I am still debating whether I think the new iPhone is worth the upgrade price. That aside, you can multitask and the iPhone 3GS as well.