App subscription fatigue

Unfortunately, that seems to no longer be a sustainable business model, much to my disdain. From the user’s view, paying once for an app and getting free updates for life (or at least a few years), is the ideal situation. But then how are the developers supposed to make a living?

For a while, the trend became pay once, get some updates, then a year or two later, a completely new version comes out and everyone has to pay (again). The updates were plentiful and frequent, but they were free for users until the next major version. And the cycle repeats itself. From a developer’s perspective, this was also unsustainable, because the revenue stream would dry up after launch, and it would become a slow trickle… More here.

This is a tricky area and one that many of us consider more than the financial implications possibly merit. I gave up Apple Arcade in the trial and did the same with News+ because I could not see the value, yet I could easily buy 2 coffees in a day for close to £6.

Currently I subscribe to Apple Music family (£14.99/month), TomTom (£12.99/year), Netflix (£8/month) and Amazon Prime (whatever it is per year). Oh and Bear Note (small yearly charge) and that’s about it. There could easily be a point where subscriptions reach £50/month and this is where the thought of subscribing to ‘apps’ that only appear to offer app benefits becomes a problem.

And then there are newspapers and publications that want you to subscribe to gain access, things like WordPress which I pay for to host this site and Snowflakes & Shields, mobile plans for the family, iCloud etc etc. Where does it end? Soon I suspect.

Categories: Apps, Articles

1 reply

  1. This is an ongoing discussion. While I agree that the low-cost pay once for life is not sustainable, the subscription charges in the iOS App Store are usually too high to justify unless it’s a must-have app. It may be different when a developer offers a package on iOS and macOS, and possibly Windows. Mac apps are usually more expensive, mainly because the market is much smaller. But using the added devices is a good value proposition, especially now that Catalyst is available.

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