Back in the early days of personal computers I could buy an applications and pretty much use it forever. Or, at least use it until it wouldn’t work anymore. Platforms changed in a hurry back in those days.
The internet came along and that meant plenty of free software in shareware, donationware, and less expensive upgrades that came with more features. I’m those days are gone, too, as we’re quickly entering the Age of App Subscriptions.
Et Tu, Apple?
My memory isn’t what it used to be but modern PC and Mac subscriptions cannot be that old. Adobe lumped all their applications into a monthly/annual subscription rate and their customer based howled disapproval. But signed up anyway.
Microsoft has something similar going with Office 365. Get all the Office apps, some online storage, file sync, and a few other goodies for a monthly/annual subscription. Chromebooks come with free Google Drive storage– but the price tag arrives after a year or two.
Rummage through the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store and you’ll see a growing list of apps that work on subscription only. The apps works, but after awhile or all the features are available only if you cough up the monthly/annual subscription fee.
I have a few.
Bear – Great little notes application for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple Watch. Bear has an ongoing price tag that lets you use all the apps. The price tag is modest at $1.49 a month, or $14.99 a year, but in three years it becomes $45. Bean is free and Nisus Writer Express is half the price.
iTunes Music – Remember back when you could buy your own music? You still can. My iTunes Music collection reached almost 4,000– at 99-cents each. Today, for less than $10 a month (less if you use iTunes cards at a discount), I can have access to about 40-million songs via Apple Music. A monthly subscription service.
Apple TV – This is an odd one. Apple TV isn’t free but because technology changes quickly the device won’t be too useful in five or 10 years. Many of the television apps I could use on Apple TV are free, but I have to have a monthly cable TV subscription services to use them. Sling TV is on there. YouTube and other streaming TV services, too. More monthly subscriptions.
Texture – Apple just bought Texture, a monthly magazine subscription service. What you get in the iOS app are 200 popular magazines; big name magazines– Time, GQ, The New Yorker, Bon Appétit, Forbes, Fotune, ESPN, Nation Geographic, Popular Science, and many, many more– for a monthly subscription fee. Good deal, right? $10 a month. Forever.
Apple News – This is a projection on my part. Apple News is free and many, many iPhone and iPad customers use it. It’s a decent application which curates news, sports, opinion, and information from a variety of sources. Kudos to Apple for News. It’s news. It’s free. What’s not to like?
I can see this coming. Apple will blend Textures with News where a monthly subscription gets you easy access to a growing variety of news, sports, information, and entertainment– for a monthly fee. The whole shebang, one monthly price tag. Forever. It’s coming.
What’s next? A subscription service to Facebook? If so, then we’ll find out what all that information Facebook has taken from their users is worth in dollars. Subscriptions are here, folks. Get used to them. They are not going away.