One of our favorite Apple photo editors has announced a controversial change

Popular photo-editing app Pixelmator Photo is moving to a subscription model, raising the price for a perpetual license.

iOS photo editor will now include monthly and annual subscriptions for $4.99 and $23.99, respectively. Meanwhile, a lifetime license will now cost $54.99, a huge jump for what was once a $7.99 app.

Existing users can continue to use the app with unlimited access, no subscription required.

Why Pixelmator Subscriptions?

In a detail blog postthe developers explained why they are moving away from an up-front payment model.

Ultimately, the decision was financial, with the company admitting that relying on big feature updates to bring the camera app to market meant that “the money we make isn’t enough to support the costs of development”.

The post also revealed other issues that app makers are facing with the initial paid model. Balancing slower development cycles with the demand for major updates among new users meant the team felt unable to focus on important features and quality-of-life upgrades that existing users actually wanted.

Pixelmator also revealed that Apple’s App Store’s lack of free trials for paid apps was partly to blame. He claims that no trials led to reviews from users who felt the lightweight Photoshop alternative did not meet their expectations. Pixelmator hopes the now free app with functionality locked behind a subscription will provide a workaround to the lack of a free trial.

However, the team behind the well-established image editor acknowledges that the decision may be controversial: “Of course, there are also downsides to subscriptions – a big one, really. It’s more expensive… But hope is that there are enough users who use the app regularly and feel that the annual or monthly fee is worth it.

It’s not all bad news, however. Early subscribers will receive the upcoming Pixelmator Pro – in our experience one of the best photo editing apps for Mac – at a reduced cost. The image editing tool is planned for the beginning of next year. The team promised to look into discounted pricing for existing customers.

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