Subscriptions & Services. Pay me now, and pay me later

Subscriptions & services are the new reality. Can we really blame small software companies for seeking a continuous cash flow when the largest companies in the world are doing the same?

Yet another “subscriptions” thread?

I thought it might be time to give small developers a break and take the discussion in a new direction.

And the article isn’t even about the subscriptions. It’s about the in-iOS tactics Apple uses to promote its subscription services. I think he raises a valid concern, albeit a bit dramatically. If your complaint is that a giant profit-making corporation is trying to make profits by advertising its services to existing customers, well…

I really have no complaints. I subscribe to Evernote, Mobile Passport, TripIt Pro, Apple Music and a couple of streaming services. I’ve tried and dismissed Apple News+ and Apple TV+ and no longer open the apps. I use iCloud only for backup & photos finding it a distant second behind Dropbox or Google Drive.

I thought the article raised some new points which didn’t fit in the current “subscription complaints thread” aka “The New Fantastical”

If I was wrong, which has occurred a few times in my life, I’m sure the thread will suffered a quick and hopefully painless death. :wink:


No, I agree with you and actually think he raises some points that are worth considering here and that are relevant to some of the concerns raised in the Fantastical discussion. One is the idea that most of the writers/media creators who review these products are less likely to see Apple’s ads in iOS because they probably subscribe to the services right off the bat. He’s afraid iOS is becoming adware and that some sort of journalistic or consumer activism is required to combat that. I just happen to think that ship has already sailed.

I think it is an interesting article. Thanks for sharing this.

It’s no secret that today’s Apple uses a lot of tactically put pulls to lure you into their services side of the business. All this makes me wonder, how much of deliberate negligence of providing much wanted features in the AppStore was also a long term scheme to render subscriptions the only viable options for developers?

Since basically ever iOS developers have demanded AppStore support for

  • free app trial periods for otherwise paid apps
  • upgrade pricing without the need to release the new n+1 app version as a new app to the store and see a high churn, because of users simply not discovering the new app
  • cross-platform bundling, which we only just saw to be released, sadly so far without staged upgrade options, as far as I’m aware. (Example: You buy the bundle for iOS + Watch, but for now skip the iPadOS + macOS versions, because you simply currently don’t own either of those devices. If you later open the bundle again on one of the missing platforms, you’ll be offered an option to unlock the new platform’s app at a discounted price to your already partially bought bundle.)
  • volume licensing with discounts (schools, businesses etc.)
  • discount codes

Apple seems to have been deliberately postponing those measures. Much so, that developers had to find creative ways to work around this, especially Agenda with the feature-lock for one year and GoodNotes 5 with their hacky upgrade bundle pricing, which’s price was calculated based on what you previously paid for GoodNotes 4.