The long-time iOS and iPadOS image editing application Pixelmator Photo, a companion to the popular Pixelmator Pro, is embracing subscriptions as it heads to the Mac. Previously the app was available for an upfront charge of $7.99 but will now offer either monthly or annual pricing.
Going forward, the app will now cost users $4.99 per month (close to $24 per year) and will include the option for a lifetime purchase of $54.99. Current users will be allowed to continue as they are.
“[This] is the best way forward for Pixelmator Photo and will make it into the best photo editor it can be,” read the company’s announcement.
Pixelmator, as a whole, originally launched in 2007 with the “Classic” version and later rebranded to “Pro”. In 2021, Pixelmator Photo launched on the iPhone. The Photo app today is only available on the iPhone and iPad and includes some of the same editing features seen on Pro — but it’s not a complete graphic design solution. Instead, it’s focused mostly on photo-editing.
The company explained its current one-time price model was becoming unsustainable for continued service. It was leading to slower development and put the company in a pickle when deciding if they should do paid upgrades instead.
It also spelled out other issues with the paid upfront model on the App Store, including lower-priced apps in existence, lack of purchase unification across devices, no free trials across iOS and iPadOS and an absence of upgrade discounts. Additionally, the company cited users buying at different times are either getting more or less value for the money they spent, due to where they purchased in the release cycle. Additionally, the model meant Pixelmator had to prioritize investments in aquiring new users rather than being able to rely on revenue from its loyal customers.
“So what’s the problem – just keep releasing major updates, right?,” read the company’s release. “Well, you can certainly try but if an update doesn’t do as well as expected or is delayed, you’re in trouble. And eventually, your potential pool of users shrinks to make it necessary to release a paid upgrade that existing users need to pay for, too.”
In addition to the subscription model, the company announced its plan to launch Pixelmator Photo for Mac.
The app, designed for macOS, will supposedly be live late this year or early next year. However, the company has yet to share any specifics about the Mac app. (TechCrunch reached out to Pixelmator to learn more but did not receive an immediate comment.)
The company noted there could be a potential subscription price increase once the Mac version is out, but current subscribers will be able to lock in their price now.
Pixelmator did acknowledge the downsides to a subscription-based model but hopes that with a dedicated set of users development will continue long-term.
These changes don’t apply to other Pixelmator products, like Pixelmator Pro — at least not for the time being. The flagship Pixelmator Pro app remains available as a paid download at $39.99.
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