tl;dr Polarr Photo Editor is moving to a subscription model for new users in early 2018. The existing free features will continue to be free, and current paid users don't need to worry about anything. Read the rest of the post for more details!
Why we're switching Polarr to subscription
The short answer is because maintaining old features and developing new features both cost a lot of money.
Right now, Polarr is a "boutique" dev team with 10 people. We want to keep developing and supporting Polarr to its best for a long time. That won't happen when our users only buy the app once but our team needs to constantly revise the old code and develop new code to make sure Polarr's old and new features run smoothly on newer operating systems and hardware devices.
Right now, a $20 purchase gives you access to all features in Polarr across all platforms. That's worked well for us so far but doesn't set us up for a sustainable future going forward. So we're going to do something about it now rather than eventually reach a point where the number of purchases of Polarr gets low enough that we can't carry on as a company.
Old features need ongoing love
It might come to non-developers as a surprise that code rots when left unattended. We mentioned that a subscription helps us develop new features and support the app. But features already put into the app need to be revisited anytime that there's an OS update or new hardware features added.
For example, some of you are on macOS El Capitan and some of you are on High Sierra, and you probably remembered when there was an OS update, certain old features broke and the team had to put together fixes. Another example would be when you buy a new iPhone X, and the layout and UI of the app all started to look weird, while our team needed to work months ahead of the new iPhone release to make sure Polarr looks great on them. There are countless other examples that required us to improve existing old features, such as supporting stylus support, 3D touch, wide gamut display, HEIF and new image formats.
Budget for new features as requested by you
Having a subscription model allows our team to expand and have a much faster development of the new features the majority of you have requested. Such as certain RAW support, magic erasers, look up tables, better fonts, layers, etc.
Polarr is already one of the most frequently iterated apps. We have more than 4 major releases and 50 minor releases in the past two years, and we’re confident to keep producing the best features and experiences of Polarr to you. A subscription model enables us to estimate how much money is coming in and then allows us to create a development budget to build new features and grow!
Ongoing support and tutorial cost
We do our best to provide real-time support when you reach out to us. That's time and money from our small team. We're also building out tutorials in Polarr Wiki and have plans to ramp up video production so that you get as much new content as possible to help you master and get the most out of Polarr.
Why not raise more money from investors?
Our team believes that venture capital and other forms of investment are not necessarily aligned with creating a long-term and sustainable company. We want to create an environment where we are the captains of our ship and the direction we travel. Venture Capital is expensive capital. Not only do you give up a lot of control of your company to investors, but there are then new expectations of exponential growth and scale that don't necessarily allow us to to be a user-focused company. We want to put Polarr users first over investors.
It might sound like an excuse, but we're not the first to switch to subscription. The difference is we won't screw you over
If your friend jumps off a bridge, would you do it too? Depends on how high the bridge is! Jokes aside, due to the very same reasons above, a lot of smaller development teams have switched to subscription models to put them into a position to continue to build their software for their users. On the other hand, those smaller development teams that haven't switched to the subscription are slowly dying off and with them, their apps. We don't want that at all.
We're looking around and putting together a subscription model that's fairly priced and you feel is worth it. We're also not screwing over existing users who already have a Polarr Pro account.
All existing Polarr Pro account gets a free 248-year subscription.
That’s right. After we roll out the subscription plans, anyone with a Polarr Pro account before the switch has a "subscription" to Polarr for the next 248 years. Feel free to gift it to your grandchildren someday!
Why such a weird number? Well, the no-longer planet Pluto takes 248 years to complete its orbit around the sun. So the next time Pluto is in its current position your subscription will expire. It'll be awhile :)
All existing free features in Polarr will remain to be free.
All you current tools and awesome features including all functions around making and using QR codes will continue to be free, and we don't and won't have plans to charge previously free features.
The subscription will be cross-platform
That means you can use Polarr on all of your devices, regardless of the operating system! You can use Polarr Photo Editor on your iOS or Android device, or Mac, or Windows PC. It doesn't matter the platform, your subscription will work there.
Monthly or yearly, the choice is yours
Not sure you want to commit to a full year of Polarr? That's fine since we'll also offer you the ability to pay month-to-month.
More info to come
This blog post is us giving you a heads-up in advance of when we do make the switch. If you're reading this, you're most likely an existing customer and have nothing to worry about. The app will be the same as you love and continue to get better.
For users thinking of buying into Polarr, this is your chance to buy the app and get a 150-year "subscription". In the coming months, we'll share more about what new features you can expect in the next major Polarr release and announce final subscription pricing.
Have any feedback or comment?
We’d love to hear what you think, reach out to us! firstname.lastname@example.org