Setapp Subscription Service Adds iOS Companion Apps

Originally published at: Setapp Subscription Service Adds iOS Companion Apps - TidBITS

The Setapp subscription service, which has so far focused on the Mac, now offers subscribers the option of adding iOS companion apps to Setapp-managed Mac apps for an additional monthly fee.

The idea that you have to pay for each iOS device seems completely antithetical to the way that app purchases have worked for the longest time.

Except for Things, most apps have one price for iPhone and iPad.

The net result of this decision for me was to decide that I really don’t use/need Ulysses enough to justify paying another $10/month for Setapp on iOS, and their iOS offerings are extremely weak right now (it’s basically Ulysses and a few other apps that you may never have even heard of).

Setapp has responded to complaints from users along these lines and dropped the per-device price. Julia Petryck told me:

As a result of feedback from the Setapp community, today we’re changing the price for additional devices for all Setapp plans to make it more affordable to start using iOS devices with a Setapp subscription. The price for each additional device has been decreased from $4.99 to $2.49.

That seems much more reasonable.

I’ve updated the article to reflect this change.

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As of September 1st, if all I’m using Ulysses, and I want to use it on September 1st on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad, then the price went from $10/month to $15/month instead of $20/month.

That’s better… but it’s still a 50% increase for the same thing I was paying for on August 31st instead of a 100% increase.

Yep. Setapp only makes sense if you use enough of the apps in it. If all you’re using is Ulysses, it’s a price hike no matter what. Their goal is to add more iOS apps so that it becomes worthwhile again.

Yeah, thankfully they sensibly dropped the price from $5 to $2.5. Otherwise it would not appeal to most I suspect, given interested users typically own a phone and pad. And also iOS apps are typically much less feature packed as mac ones, so this makes much more sense, price wise.

Along with two Macs, I have two pads and a phone, so 15 -> 7.5 is more likely to get me to consider. But for the moment they’ll have to expand the offering to get me to bite. So we’ll have to wait and see.

Should add…

One wonders if Apple can smell the coffee here, and just as they did for music, realise that they’ll sooner or later have to offer an app subscription model of some kind. Given the Apple Silicon transition, surely this seems inevitable.

The only problem is that given the sheer volume of utility apps currently available on iOS/iPadOS (along with their macOS counterparts), where would they begin to draw a select group, that would make is financially viable? Also, it could introduce a two-tiered system of ‘preferred’ vs ‘secondary’ apps, or suchlike.

The only thing that dev companies would likely have going for joining such an offering, is a larger target audience coming straight from Apple, rather than from this separate Setapp company, and potential regular decent financial returns from doing so.

What with the current Epic store issue (for Google too), some flux may be incoming in app-land.

General purpose software is different from media.

Music and video pretty much all cost the same. Music sells for about $1 per track (some a little more, some a little less), albums sell for about $10 to download or $15-20 on CD. Movies all rent for $2-5, sell for under $20 to download and or under $30 on disc.

Even gaming software is similar, with most new titles selling for $50-60 and older titles being discounted.

In general, if all products sell for about the same price, then you can make a subscription model work. You figure out how many titles a person is likely to use in a month, determine the pro-rated cost (vs if they were purchased) and compute a monthly fee.

But general purpose software is different. You’ve got prices that range from under $10 up to thousands of dollars. Microsoft Office costs a lot less than Adobe Creative Cloud, for instance. Any subscription offering is either going to be forced to omit high-end titles or charge a high price in order to include these titles.

Setapp can only work because they don’t support applications that sell/rent with high price tags.

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Yeah agree, you’re never gonna get your MS or Adobe-level software on it. But that’s pretty much mostly what Setapp offer now – low-to-mid tier apps. So Apple would likely go down that route as well, I suspect.

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Do I have this correct…

Didn’t your first $10/mth (or the annual sub) get you TWO Macs?

Are current customers still getting that or are they now halving our usage down to just ONE Mac??

If so, that’s not on: I’ve paid an annual sub for TWO Macs, so that’s what I should be getting, and is a straight forward breach of contract!

(If they are halving it down to one Mac then it should be for new customers only, not those on legacy contracts or upgrading.)

They’re not clear at all on their website on this. :-/

It’s tricky, but what I think is the case is that existing subscribers got two devices when they moved to the per-device subscription plan because previously Setapp allowed you to install on at least two Macs. @rmogull told me he had a normal pre-existing subscription and ended up with two devices. (My subscription is weird because it’s press and teams, so I have five devices.) I supposed it’s conceivable that you only get two devices if you had actually used two before.

With the move to the per-device approach, I believe new subscribers get only one device.

You’d want to check with Setapp customer support if you’re not seeing two devices on an existing plan.

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Thanks, yes that possibly makes sense. Unfortunately, I don’t have 2016 MBP15 with me at the moment, so can’t check it for a while. So will have to see later on.

So effectively…

New customers:
10/mth: 1 Mac.
+2.50/mth: +1 Mac/iOS/iPadOS.
= 12.50: 2 devices.

Legacy customers:
10/mth: 2 Macs.
+2.50/mth: +1 Mac/iOS/iPadOS.
= 12.50: 3 devices.

…I hope! :wink: