The ridiculously high subscription charges for … iOS tape measure apps

Someone wants an annual sub of £35 for their tape measure app. There appear to be a few at around £25.

I can’t fathom this. I understand subs for highly featured apps that are under ongoing development. But a tape measure?

Maybe tradesmen think it’s worth it, but none of the several trades we’ve had here in the last couple of years have used these apps. They all use real tape measures, mainly because they need confirmed accuracy.

So £10 for the real thing which is guarantee accurate, or £35 a year for an app that can’t be used for anything where accuracy is critical.


Do the apps do anything other than a basic tape measure function?

Looks simply like scam apps, no?

Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile


It indeed goes beyond measure.


To be fair, the pricier ones will take 1.61 km if you give them 2.54 cm


A little bit, but not much. Some will calculate an area (useful). Some will allow you to share a picture of the measurements (not so useful)

Sort of like taking a picture of “Look, I dug up a fossil” in New Horizons.

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… but less interesting

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I see quite a few for $0.99 or $1.99 in the US app store.

Can you share the link to the one for £35?

Here’s another good one - £23 fir a 3 month sub and for £2.99 you can get Anime girls

If it worked - take a photo of a room and get automatically labeled measurments of key objects - it would be a gamechanger for contractors and others and well worth the cost.

If it does’t work then it isn’t worth it even if free.

If I had to guess why My Measures has a subscription, it would mainly be the sync engine and 3rd party hardware support. Although it’s way beyond “tape measure” if they’ve essentially created an image editing / annotation program that works with AR measurements. This is pretty clearly intended to be a specialty app for a rather small group of people, and those sorts of apps tend to have higher price points to justify their development costs.

I agree 100%. Even if the measurements weren’t all automatically labeled, if it only saved a realtor/contractor an hour a month it would be very easy to cost-justify.

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This (and the comment by @rkaplan ) might justify a price, but not (IMO) a substantial subscription.

And the accuracy of these measurements is not (currently) good/eliable enough for build-and-fit measuring. It’s fine for indicative room sizes and so on, but bot for cut-to-fit work.As I said in my OP, none fo the tradesmen/contractors we’ve seen in the last 2 years (many) have used anything like this (nor the laser measuring devices beloved of realtors). Granted most contractors here (UK) are far from early adopters (they’re still struggling with the radical notion of using a text message to let us know they’ll be late, vs using enough mental energy to power a small town to extemporise a sweeping saga of speculative fiction after they’ve arrived - but I digress), but I’d have expected to see some interest.

Any app that has to be maintained by a team logically needs a price.

The question is one of whether or not they can justify the subscription. For business users, “app X saves me Y dollars” is pretty compelling case - and I’d suggest that if the app works exactly as advertised, the subscription cost is probably trivial compared to time savings.

You’re looking at a very high-demand use case (cut-to-fit measurements), but I’m going to take a stab in the dark that there’s a potential market for people like realtors where a tolerance might be a little more fuzzy.

Also, the dev’s ability to support third-party hardware for the measurement part makes the app much more useful. Apple’s AR isn’t there yet, but those Leica measuring things seem like they’d be able to do things with a pretty good degree of precision.

Whether the market supports the devs remains to be seen, but I can see where they’re coming from price-wise. They’re hoping that “free with subscription” brings in more customers than “we need to charge a big amount up front”.

I understand the logic, I just think the premise is severely flawed. This IMO is not the kind of tool that fits a model that makes you dependent on the software developer to continue to support/update.

I might be wrong, but …

Yes, in general the idea that software saves professionals time is solid, but ruler apps are one of those App Store categories that happen to be just filled with opportunistic dreck. Minesweeper game apps are another such category I discovered recently.

I think in every category swimming with dreck though, there’s probably a market for something that does the job well. Obviously every dev can’t be in that handful of apps, but “opportunistic” at least implies “opportunity to make some money”. :slight_smile:

Sure. But I can buy a dedicated laser measure for less than one year’s sub to this app.

To be clear, I’m not saying the app doesn’t work - I don’t know - so it could be very good. I just think that the dev’s been caught up in the current intoxication with subscriptions.

Again, if I’m a contractor, where life is often feast or famine, I don’t see why I’d want to tie myself to a relatively pricey sub which I have to pay whether I’m in my 7 lean years or my 7 fat years.

That’s the thing though - the app isn’t just doing the measuring in my scenario. You’re using either the phone’s AR functionality OR an external, super-precise measuring tool, in conjunction with the app, to rapidly make photo-based diagrams of buildings, floor plans, etc. That’s the selling proposition. Their app description focuses on the tedium of making paper sketches, rather than the measuring per se:

Making paper sketches of objects can be a tedious job. You have to draw the object, add dimensions and make sure others will understand what you meant. Often they don´t. My Measures is a powerful application for storing and sharing object dimensions. All you have to do is take a photo of an object and add dimensions: arrows, angles, photos of details and equip them with text comments for easier understanding.

It’s not a “tape measure” as much as it’s a purpose-built image editor with specific AR functionality, sync, and third-party measuring tool integrations for when Apple’s AR doesn’t cut it.

But you don’t. The benefit of a subscription is that if you’re not using it, you just stop paying. There’s no “lock in” with this, other than maybe the muscle memory of “how I do diagrams”, is there?

This might also be one of the reasons they have a separate app where you pay once for the app, and pay monthly for the features that actually cost them money to run monthly (cloud):