Mac and iOS Writing App 'Ulysses' Transitions to Subscription Model

Thursday August 10, 2017 10:44 AM PDT by Juli Clover

Ulysses, the company behind the popular Ulysses writing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, today announced that it is transitioning to a subscription model going forward.

Starting today, Ulysses will be priced at $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year, with a subscription plan unlocking Ulysses for use on all devices. Ulysses is also offering a student plan with six months of access for $10.99, and there are now two-week free trials available.

With a subscription model, Ulysses says the company will be able to do steady, small releases more often, focusing more on the needs of the user base rather than aiming for big updates to lure in new customers.

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."

To encourage existing customers to switch over to the new subscription model, Ulysses is offering a permanent life-long discount on the yearly plan, dropping the price from $40 per year to $30 per year (50% off a monthly subscription).

Customers who recently purchased Ulysses for Mac can get up to 12 months of free use, while customers who have purchased the app on an iOS device can get up to six months of free use based on grace periods calculated from the date of purchase. Ulysses plans to inform customers about the offers from within the app.

The single-purchase versions of Ulysses have been removed from sale but will remain functional. The apps are updated for High Sierra and iOS 11, but going forward, new features will only be added to the subscription versions of the apps.

Ulysses for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Ulysses for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Ulysses

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
35 months ago
via the Ulysses Blog:

A tiny bit of history
Software purchases used to be very different from how they are today. Until not too long ago, you would purchase an application and get a physical copy on a bunch of floppies (or later a CD). The thing you got — that was it. No patches, no updates. Developers had to put forward an extreme amount of attention to get everything right, because once an app was out, development had to be done.

And that’s also what you paid for: A finished product. Essentially, you paid the development time spent up until the app’s release. New features were then delivered via a new version, and you had to pay again, if you wanted that new version.

Things changed with the advent of the internet, of course. As soon as we had dial-up connections, developers could offer small patches to fix issues that were found after shipping. And once broadband connections were ubiquitously available, larger and more frequent patches were possible. At first, these resulted in new features being added on-the-fly, but it quickly evolved into issuing more and more substantial patches — until today, where most v1.0s are mere sketches of a future product.


I disagree with the way things are today completely. I'm sick and tired of paying $70 for AAA Video games that spend the next 6 months patching bugs and AI issues long after I've beaten the broken game that shipped with thousands of bugs or the balls for that dev to charge me $50 in DLC to get all of the stuff they wanted to ship with the game.

The issue is compounded with Software where developers are shipping (to use Ulysses' words) "where most v1.0s are mere sketches of a future product." This also is ********. Just like when I bought a packaged version of Roxio Toast or Microsoft Office or iDVD back in 2001 and had a full expectation that every feature worked without having to call the developer to pay S&H to get them to mail me an updated version that works, I feel the same way about apps today.

Ship 1.0 feature-complete. Work on 2.0 and charge me an upgrade fee. Don't ship software until its done. If someone else beats you to market, you ship later but better than them because you took the time to perfect things.

Subscriptions are not the way you afford to release "1.0s that are mere sketches"

If your application isn't ready, don't ship it. I would greatly prefer to receive a new piece of software every 18 months that's feature complete and nearly bug-free (no software has 0 bugs). The only reasonable expectation I have in the Internet age is that developers patch security bugs, bugs that would cause instability of your app and file corruption on my computer. If your app works without any security issues, don't update anything and save it for 2.0 when I have to pay another $50 to have the latest version.

--

Imagine buying Roxio Toast and installing it and going to burn a DVR-RW and Roxio says "Coming soon, DVD-R only. Write us an email with a $5 payment to unlock DVD-RW burning. 1.0 was just a mere sketch of what we plan on doing with this app over the coming year"
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
I own Pixelmator, Ulysses, 1 Password, DaisyDisk, AppZapper, Onyx, a better finder rename, Cyberduck, Transmission, Deliveries, iStat Menus, Img.urls, MacTracker, MarsEdit, Parallels, Reeder, Sequence, Skitch, Omni (focus, graffle), Tweetbot among dozens of other Mac apps.

I use some of these apps once a month and some I use once a week. I would prefer to pay $250 a year for all of them than $5 per month for each of these. An annual $5-$50 for major improvements to the app is worth it to me on these applications I rely on for some of my tasks.

I open Ulysses on a monthly basis when I'm working on something long-form that will eventually go into MS Word and be shared with colleagues in .docx format w/ fancy graphs. But the long-form writing, I'll do it in Ulysses. At $5 a month, that means I'm spending $5 per document to draft out a long-form idea that will be edited elsewhere. If I didn't already own it, I wouldn't subscribe to that model. I don't use Ulysses every day so my subscription isn't spread out in any meaningful way. It uses my iCloud drive for syncing and I've never emailed the company asking for support. There are no additional features I'm asking them for.

Subscriptions work in apps that I use every single day. I see Office 365 a valuable subscription. Lightroom, something I use every 2 weeks, I bought outright. I did the math on my blog last week ('https://adamchandler.me/blog/2017/07/25/technology-still-against-software-subscriptions/').

I looked at my Amazon History. I paid $144 for Lightroom 6 standalone in May of 2015. On a monthly basis, I’ve spent $5.50 a month to own Lightroom and if it’s ever updated to version 7, I could continue to run version 6 for the next decade as it suits my needs.

If I had spent $10 a month on Adobe Creative Cloud photographers, I’d have Photoshop which I never use and will have spent $260 for the same software.

For some applications, a subscription makes sense. But Onyx which I run twice a year to clean up my Mac or A Better Finder Rename I open every 3 months to mass-rename some files or Sequence I use to assemble a Time Lapse once a year when I go on my road trip, if those developers decide to charge $1-$10 a month to use their application, they can piss off.

Edit:

"But what about maintenance updates, coding the application to support new MacOS releases and keep it from crashing at launch and supporting the existing user base? These cost the developer money long after you've spent it"

If a developer doesn't want to patch bugs in their application, I'll just buy another application in 2-3 years when yours stops launching. If you want to release 1.0 for $25 and then abandon it and not write another line of code, that's fine, there are a lot of applications on Mac that perform similar tasks. I don't owe you $5 a month when I can save my pennies and give them to someone else in 2-3 years when your app finally craps the bed.

code gets stale, bugs pop up, OS upgrades break apps and competitors rise with cooler features. You can choose to remain competitive at a loss and accept an annualized major upgrade that causes all users to pay you for the cool new stuff or accept the money you got up front and never touch the code again

In fact, there is a lot of mediocre Open source software out there that costs nothing to use. If every single Macintosh application is a subscription in 10 years, I'll write my own apps or go 100% open source and deal with the rawness and unpredictability of them.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
As a developer I can honestly say subscriptions are the easy way out. Essentially you've run out of ideas and cash flow has dropped so you hit back at those who originally purchased or continue to use your product. Never ever do I agree with this route. I just create a new app and move on, it's my fault for not being able to add new features to keep things fresh. Unfortunately that's not how some other developers see it.. they don't care about the end user.. they just want the cash to keep coming in. Pretty sad. Most apps are half done anyway, that's just bad programming done on purpose.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

Subscriptions suck, but the devs gotta eat.

Take your boo-hoo's elsewhere people, if I were to create an application today I too would follow a similar model.

So, if I disagree with your opinion, I need to take my “boo-hoo” elsewhere?

Typical arrogance associated with the subscription model.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
Just four words: Scrivener
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
I'm not mad, all i have to say is, "no thanks, I'll go elsewhere"
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...