Ulysses writing app embraces subscription purchase model

Many bloggers, including me, use the cross-platform writing app Ulysses on a daily basis. Up to this point, the app has required a pair of purchases; one for the Mac app and another for the iOS app. Today, the Ulysses team announced that it will do away with the purchases, instead embracing the subscription model that is becoming popular for so many apps.

The subscription will cost $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year, with a special six-month student subscription available for $10.99. Purchasing the plan provides Ulysses on all devices -- Mac, iPad and iPhone. 

For those who have supported Ulysses in the past, a permanent discount of 50% on the monthly subscription is available. In case you're wondering why Ulysses chose to go to a subscription-based purchase system, here's an explanation from Ulysses co-founder Max Seelemann from today's press release:

The Benefits of a Subscription Model

The current version of Ulysses for Mac was released in 2013. A version for iPad was added in 2015, with the iPhone following in 2016. Since its original release, the app was constantly improved and has received nine big feature updates. The apps were single, upfront purchases, and all updates were delivered for free. Co-founder Max Seelemann about the new subscription model: “This step was necessary to put Ulysses’ future development on a solid foundation. We weighed several alternatives – paid updates among them – and concluded that the subscription model, as it is available with the App Store since 2016, is best suited to meet both our customers’ needs and our needs as developers.”

According to Seelemann, the new model offers a number of benefits when compared to the old one: “While we were always able to offer a Mac demo of Ulysses on our website, users on iOS had to buy a pig in a poke,” he says. “Also, if you wanted to use Ulysses on both macOS and iOS, you had to buy two versions, because that’s just how the App Store works.” With the new model, one purchase will instantly unlock Ulysses on all devices, and is now also available as a cross-platform 14-day trial. “Conceptually, Ulysses has always been a single product, with the availability of all texts on all devices being one of its major features. The fact that users still had to pay twice – for Mac and for iOS – was therefore hard to explain.” Seelemann also highlights the lower entry threshold and lower commitment associated with the new subscription model, as the customer only needs to pay as long as he actually needs the app.

Furthermore, Seelemann explains: “The new model also implies a change of focus in development. In the past, there was an economic imperative to make releases as spectacular as possible, exploiting a short phase of media attention to get as many new users as possible. This was the only way to pre-finance the development time until the next release. With the new model, our stream of income will be more steady, we can do smaller releases but release more often, and focus more on the needs of our existing user base.”

Seelemann has laid out the details behind the switch to a subscription model in a post he just published on Medium. You can read it here: https://ulyssesapp.com/subscription-background.
— Press release from Ulysses GmbH & Co. KG dated 8/10/17