Timelines 2.0 has arrived, with subscription

Experienced people from iOS community. Sure it’s the users not the devs.

I don’t know if I should thank you for explaining how you teased out one sentence to implicate developers or point out self-control after stomping off and saying you wouldn’t reply any further, only to do so twice more mere moments later. (I’ll do both, I guess.)

So what do you want? You want me to give you the quote. I did. Then you want me to stop? I guess you’re just trying to wrong me in every possible way.

I did end the topic on subscriptions by the way.

You’re not discussing ‘the topic’ of the app’s subscriptions (the point of the thread), just continuing to discuss… what exactly if not the app’s subscriptions? Ah, never mind.

Moderators, can we have a healthy discussion in the forums. Off late I see that communications are going in a different direction. More of personal attacks or nit picking on personal views. May be I am reading too much into it. If so please feel free to delete this comment. I am not targeting any person or any comment. On most threads the original intent of the thread is lost.


I’m very sorry for being involved. I’ll refrain from these discussions in the future.

I’ve been a user of Timelines 1 for some three years, perhaps. It has been an app that has been continually maintained, fixed and improved over the years. The developer is reallly responsive and I believe I got more than my money’s worth in app maintenance and improvement (even the Apple Watch app is geat).

Although I’m not keen in adding yet another subscription to my list, for those who favour or don’t oppose subscriptions I believe you’ll get more than $20 dollars a year worth of features.

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This is a niche with tons of free/freemium lower-end competitors and also competitors with more features who moved to subscription years ago (eg ATracker, Hours Time Tracking which have had subscriptions since at least 2018).

Devs with subscriptions are better able to budget their coding activities and feature releases because they have a stable, predictable income stream, and they can release new features immediately (compared to devs who sell new versions and this must ‘bank’ new features to make new versions sufficiently appealing for purchase by current users) - and bringing all customers with you to the latest version also reduces support costs. There are other competitive disadvantages to sell-once apps but I bet Timeline’s dev has felt those I mentioned above.

This trend is only going to accelerate, with Apple supporting subscriptions even more strongly, with new tools to help devs. New article today:

As more apps are switching to subscription models, Apple is reminding developers that they will have access to new App Store subscription offer codes later this year. These codes will allow developers to offer special deals for app subscriptions, including free or discounted prices for auto-renewable subscriptions.

So, looks like iOS/iPadOS only, and iOS/iPadOS 14 only. If I’m reading the article correctly.

For offer codes, yes. That’s the focus right now.

But there are different options that involve Mac apps. For example, devs can group multiple subscription apps into a single download at a reduced price, including up to 10 iOS apps or up to 10 macOS apps.

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Yes please! Especially if we are getting specific when it comes to the culprit sowing discourse lately.

Can we stop comparing app subscriptions to Netflix or … a car?

If an app was investing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in development and updates, it might be a fair comparison.

Not saying that these apps don’t provide value for users, I’m just saying that this is a bad argument.

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The premise that only things with high production costs should be the only valid subscriptions or rentals is itself a bad argument in my opinion. Aside from being extremely dismissive of the costs to develop and maintain quality software, people rent tools and party supplies, for heaven’s sake, and have been subscribing to boutique newsletters since the 1970s. There’s no reason the model is somehow wrong for software. Indeed, subscription business software was a huge business model in the 60s up to the rise of the personal computer. This is just a model expanding to current times.

I mean, if you want to continue comparing completely different businesses, that have completely different business models, that operate at completely different scales, with completely different value propositions, because their billing methods are similar, go bananas.

Just try to be nicer to other people while you’re doing it.

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So different markets, big and small, have physical and virtual rentals and subscriptions and monthly charges. In different businesses, at varying scales, and at varying value propositions. It’s been done at all sorts of price points, and it’s been done for decades for software as well. But you say it’s a “bad argument” for consumer software because… reasons.

Netflix has content associated with it which has costs tied to it.
Car you can lease it (subscription) or outright own it.
Mortgage (subscription) YES. Try missing one payment and see the effects of it.
Electricity, Water, Mobile Bills all can be considered subscriptions but they don’t fall under the same umbrella of Software subscriptions.

The subscription cost of a Software should be slightly less than the normal update cost of your product. The Dev has constant stream of revenue and the consumer has an incentive of lower update cost while supporting the dev all through. It’s a win win situation. As an example - If an app has an update every 2 years and it costs $24 for the update for a $40 app for a new version, the subscription costs should be less than $20 spread over two years.

That’s up to the market to decide. If the price is too high people will go elsewhere. I’m all for affordable software, but pricing gets decided not by historical precedent, thankfully, as I remember word processors that cost upwards of $300 a few decades ago.

And if a product has always been subscription-only, which will be happening more frequently, there’s no “normal update cost” to compare to. Besides, should" is a pretty slippery value judgement, I think you’d agree.

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Update cost is the cost a dev needs to maintain his product. Which the dev should be knowing. When he is offering a subscription model, he already knows the cost of what it takes to maintain his software for next year or two. Its the way you foresee and then spread them onto subscriptions.

If you don’t like the price - subscription, license or purchase - you can choose something else. You can wish for prices to be anything you want, based on marginal cost or the phase of the moon, but saying what pricing a developer ‘should’ charge is something of a waste of time, in my opinion. :man_shrugging: Again, it’s up to the market to decide if it’s acceptable value for price, and no amount of ‘should’ changes that.

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End of the day it’s the market that decides. No doubt about it. It’s the universal truth

At the same time one would want to support the dev for the app they like and keep continuing to use it, than investing in a new workflow with a new app. It’s this fact that most of us are trying (hoping) on what should be a value for a product.

Yes. Again to reiterate it. If you can’t afford it. Move on to next affordable app.

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