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Why the change?
The App Store ecosystem has changed many aspects of software consumption and creation for the consumer and developer alike. The expectation that apps should be free or $0.99 means that a developer may make as little as $0.69 (after the App Store’s cut) for potentially thousands of hours of work. Moreover, the inability to charge for updates means that the developer must find new users to fund ongoing development and to support the existing user base. While the typical user may be familiar with the glamour of the sweeping successes in the app world, the reality is that these are few and most developers make little to nothing on their apps. This is all-too-frequently realized by unresponsive customer support and stagnant apps.
Our apps have always sought to provide significant value to investors of all backgrounds through a rich feature set and responsive customer support. We don’t believe in ignoring our users, leaving bugs unfixed, or ignoring enhancement requests that may bring value to a large community of users. The reality however, is that the level of service we provide is worth more than a one-time price.
The only mechanism available to app developers for earning revenue from an existing user base is through in-app purchases. Enter subscriptions. Through a new tiered subscription approach, users can pay for advanced features that they deem valuable. Furthermore, effort can be better assigned to those areas that users are most interested in. While some users are surely upset by this change, it is a necessity at this point and we hope that they find these features of value and will continue to support our apps.
Why is feature x charged for?
We offer several different subscription options, allowing users to pick and choose the features they require. Certain features have been moved to subscription because they have ongoing monthly costs associated with maintenance of server components. PUSH-based price alerts and market scanning are obvious examples of these, but a number of other features have server support that may be less obvious to the user but that are nonetheless important. Additional features are being rolled out as part of the Pro Feature Set because they offer particularly novel or advanced functionality that is more actively enhanced.
Are subscriptions shared between apps?
Yes and no. PUSH-price alerts are shared amongst all of your devices regardless of app (eg. iPhone and iPad can share the same subscription). And all subscriptions can be shared amongst multiple copies of the same app (eg. multiple iPhones can share the same Pro feature set subscription). Currently, the Pro Feature Set subscription cannot be shared between different apps.
To share your subscriptions, simply sign up for a free account here at portfoliomobile.com and then enter your username and password in the Online section of the app Settings View. Your subscriptions will automatically be updated and shared amongst your devices.
How is pricing determined?
We have priced the various subscriptions at very reasonable levels. The Pro Feature Set and PUSH-price alerts subscriptions are priced as low as is possible in the App Stores ($0.99 / month), while market scanning is $2.99/month. All subscriptions are discounted when subscribing on an annual basis. At these prices, a user can be expected to pay $40/year to maintain access to all of the features we offer (iPad with PUSH price alerts, market scanning and Pro). This price is still less than what typical portfolio management applications sell for outside of the App Store (and our apps provide a richer feature set).
Will the Mac version get subscriptions?
Subscriptions for PUSH-based price alerts and market scanning are planned for the Mac version. The Mac app will continue to be sold for a higher price to fund continuing development and will likely have paid updates at some point in the future. There are no plans to divide the Mac feature set into a Pro subscription.
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