Subscription Apps, Default Apps, and Cloud Services

1Password has received some negative press because of their push for more users to switch from purchasing the app outright to a subscription model and the use of their own syncing service. They have responded on Twitter in this fashion to see of the complaints:

On a recent episode of Accidental Tech Podcast, the hosts talked at length about some of the issues around this push from 1Password (and others) and, overall, are sympathetic to the needs of software developers for recurring revenue but are a little bit sour to the push toward more cloud services from software development partners. Panic, makers of Transit (my favorite SFTP and more software), has their own sync service and so does The Omni Group.

However, this proliferation of cloud sync services along with the continued push to never own software but need to continually pay a subscription has me rethinking some of the applications I use on a daily basis.

For one thing, I have an adverse reaction to paying a subscription for things. It doesn’t need to make sense, but I hesitate every time I am asking to pay, via a subscription, for a piece of software (even one I use often). I’m far more likely to search out alternatives at that point.

Another issue is that paying a subscription, especially to another vendor, requires maintaining correct payment information over time. When my credit card expires, I need to find all of the places I have used that card and update it. If I want to change my banking provider, then I need to search out all of those areas as well.

I pay Apple for iCloud storage and an Apple Music subscription. I pay Netflix for entertainment. I pay a VPS provider for my virtual server. After that, I pay for a lot of software but I pay once, use the software, and then purchase the next version the next time I am asked to pay. It is a one time purchase. I don’t need to maintain payment information. It is simple, low maintenance, and understandable.

I have the feeling we will continue to see more software vendors moving to subscriptions models (or trying it out), and so it has me looking hard and long at utilizing built-in apps on my Apple devices. Reminders, Notes, and some others might have a more prominent places in my life especially with the ability to lock Notes, I might be able to move off of 1Password if it ever comes to that point.

Moving from OmniFocus to Reminders would be more of a challenge.

Day One Goes Premium

Day One Goes Premium by Day One

This week we’re releasing the Day One Premium subscription service. It includes the ability to create more than ten journals and access all future premium features.

While I do not use more than 10 journals, this sounds like a warning that new features are going to be effectively hidden behind a pay wall. I have enjoyed using Day One, but only as a simple place to write personal thoughts.

I can do that same in many other applications and plan to do so. First place for me to look is Notes.app.

Why the Mac App Store

The App Store (both Mac and iOS) has its fair share of problems.

However, it has allowed me to offload many problems I had to deal with in the past when it came to recommending, purchasing, and installing software. Mainly, it has to do with enabling others to do that part so that I don’t have to go and visit that person every time they have a question.

My mother records her piano students at various times during the year for Statewide Graduation with the Suzuki Association of Minnesota. Those files need to be converted to MP3s and then submitted for judging before a student can be accepted.

In comes Pro Audio Converter and the Mac App Store. I send her the link, she can purchase and download using her Apple ID with attached credit card information and I get an email back later that day saying that everything worked just fine.

In the past she never even purchases the software because she doesn’t like giving her credit card information out over the web if she doesn’t know the company. Apple, being a corporation that she knows, handles the trust issue and then OS X handles downloading, installing, and showing her where to find the software.

The added benefit is that I don’t see three mounted images on her desktop where she runs the programs out of the next time I visit.

So she gains some independence from me taking care of the software side of things and I gain time. That’s a win-win in that situation.

However, let’s not minimize the issues the App Store has. There are needs for resources to make App Review faster and better, better management to keep policies in-line across the company, and continued development to make sure that new apps can show up on the store as well. Those are real needs.

There are real wins, for real people, with the App Store as well … and that is really cool.