The “freedom”, and transparency, of subscriptions

One aspect of subscriptions that I do actually like but haven’t seen a lot of mention around is the flexibility that they offer when working with software.

I love “owning” software that I know I’ll never not want to own. But what if something comes up at my job, or at home, and I need to use (hypothetically) OmniGraffle for one project? It would cost me $100-250 to purchase the app.

But with a subscription I could subscribe to the app for a month. I can use it how I need and then cancel my subscription going forward.

Sure I don’t “own” the app after I’m done but the fact that I was able to do my work more efficiently is worth that “fee” to me.

It also gives me a chance to try out apps I wouldn’t normally use. Every once in a while I throw $2 toward TickTick and try it out. Or Todoist. Or I have a less busy month and I put $5 toward Apple Arcade that month.

I totally understand the aversion to subscriptions for apps that you’ll use forever and don’t want to leave. I think that’s valid and something I struggle with but ultimately technology has always required a recurring expense. With subscriptions I think we’re finally seeing that cost a bit more clearly and it’s also giving us a freedom to experiment that hasn’t been there before.

Anyway, just something I was thinking about. :blush:


If you need a pickup truck (snow blower, power washer, jack hammer,…), rent one. Totally reasonable. I don’t get all the rage, but I’m sure someone will reply with an explanation.


True. I needed an instrument for a performance and it would’ve cost me $800 to purchase it outright. For one night. I rented it for $24. :+1:t2:

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They are not all month-to-month like Apple Arcade which is a cut rate bargain with new apps all the time! Your personal information, your workflow is not caught up in the Arcade.

Nope. But it could be in Todoist, or OmniFocus, etc… Omni still allows for one-time app purchases but they are large purchases.

All I was trying to point out is that subscriptions are exposing the ongoing cost of software, and how they’ve also exposed a benefit that is “rentals” that allow us to use some (previously expensive) software at a fraction of the cost.

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Rentals allow some of us to use (fill in the blank) at a fraction of the cost. If I need to use an $800 instrument on a regular basis, I’m not going to be happy that my only option is paying $24 a day to have access to it. That’s what I perceive to be some of the pushback to subscription-only pricing of any product.

I tried that with Adobe Photoshop for a project.
Subscribed for a month, only used it for 2 day’s to complete my tasks. And “Unsubscribed”.
To my amazement Adobe billed me for the next month so I ended up waisting half an hour with their support only to discover that it doesn’t work that way.
You basically commit to a year but choose to pay in monthly installments at a top rate. Its not a month to month rent.

That was the last time I used Photoshop and I spend the time to create new templates and learn how to use Pixelmator Pro for my tasks. Doing so I found out that Pixelmator is much easier for the things I need to do. A specially in combination with the iPad Pro and pencil :slight_smile:

Had Adobe not done this to me I still would have been an occasional customer.
Now I am helping many of my clients who are also unhappy with Adobe’s and move them over to alternatives. The real Pro’s who utilize Adobe products certainly get their moneys worth out of this professional software.

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The problem though is that software isn’t a piece of hardware with no fluctuations in performance. IF when you bought a piece of software the hardware never changed around it then I would understand being irked that you have to continue to pay. However Apple ships updates constantly and developers are expected to have bugs fixed and features supported at a blistering pace. :man_shrugging:t2:

I think developers should support both options if they can (a la 1Password & Omni) but sometimes that comes at a large cost to them as well.

Well the hardware analogy was yours, not mine, but there is no question that the subscription fees from some software developers recently in the spotlight looks like a money grab. 1Password and Day One have made nice attempts at appeasing everyone, I didn’t know that Omni had anything subscription other than OmniFocus Web, so I cannot comment on what they are doing. IMO the folks at have it nailed. Lots of functionality for free, plus ‘subscribers’ get to keep all premium features released during the subscription period forever.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention offers separate pricing for iOS and macOS. One of the things that the calendar folks are promoting is one subscription fee covers apps on macOS, watchOS, iOS, and iPadOS, which doesn’t impress a user that only wanted a premium calendar app on their phone.

This is true only for apps that don’t require a high learning curve to master.

Personally I am not fond of subscription software, but we must acknowledge that writing software requires talented people and talented people (and the associated overhead) costs money.

So far this is true, but it undoubtedly costs more for a developer to offer and support multiple licensing options. I wonder how much longer they will continue doing this.

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Unfortunately 1Password made it nearly impossible to find the purchase option on their website. I just spend 5 minutes searching and still came empty handed. Last time I saw it it was about $67 to purchase no upgrade pricing available :rage:

It’s still there. On the page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Downloads”. You are correct that there is no upgrade pricing.

Standalone licenses are sold within each of the relevant 1Password apps, once installed.

That’s always been the case, for decades now. It’s only recently that software developers have decided that pricey subscriptions are the only way to survive. Fantastical used to charge what, $5.00 USD for its iPhone app, and ‘upgraded’ it for a new version every 4-5 years? Now my subscription cost for four years for a family of 4 is 4x40x4=$640? You think that’s not a money grab?

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It’s only recently that we’ve seen a fast, inexorable drive to free and freemium apps whose prices have become unsustainable.

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Nope this link doesn’t lead to the purchase of the license only a “discussion” where to download it.

On the “Downloads” page there is a button “Download 1Password7”. Download it, install it, and then (as I neglected to mention and @bowline helpfully added) you can choose the standalone license or the subscription license. Or no license.

It’s a response from a team member saying how to purchase a standalone version: by first downloading the normal version and doing an IAP.