Subscriptions are nothing new. We’ve had newspaper and magazine subscriptions since well back in the last century. Leases and rentals are a form of subscriptions, so it should be no surprise that Apple jumped into the ongoing revenue stream game, too.
AppleCare? Subscription. Apple Music? Subscription. See? Apple iPhone Upgrade Program? That’s pay by the month, too (albeit with a rent to own option). The key to understanding subscriptions is to understand that everybody wants your money. Apple included.
$240 Notes App
One of my favorite new apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad (and Apple Watch) is Drafts. This cleverly designed notes app lets you create actions from notes. Capture whatever you want into Drafts, then farm it out to other applications as needed.
I love it. I just have to ask myself if a notes app is worth nearly $240 over the next 10 years? It might be if it’s incredibly efficient and productive. But it’s a notes app. Adobe’s popular Photoshop and Lightroom come bundled for $10 a month. $120 a year. $1,200 for 10 years. Microsoft’s Office has a similar price tag and it gets you the entire Office suite on any device. For a price. An ever growing price.
My fear with Apple’s new subscription products– Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Music, iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple Care– and all the subscription apps available these days, is that somewhere not too far in the future we will have a revolution of sorts.
Subscription fatigue. How many subscriptions can you stand?
The absolute worst are those in the so-called health and fitness categories. I use Lose It! for free, but advanced features come with a price. $40. A year. $99. Lifetime.
I use the very popular Map My Run for free, but the in-app subscription adds more features. For a price. $6.00 a month. Up to $60 a year. For repackaging data that iPhone gathers for free (except for the annual iPhone Upgrade Program).
We get it, Apple; you need the money. Everybody is out to get our money. That’s the way a capitalist world works, right? Unfortunately for Apple and many app developers, the money I can provide to help grow the ecosystem is a finite resource.
There is a time to every season, and a limit to my disposable income. I don’t have a firm number on how many subscriptions I can stand, but I can feel the rage against ongoing payments that ever end growing already.