1Password subscription thoughts

I seem to be blogging about subscription software a lot lately. Recently, I’ve been considering switching over to 1Password’s subscription service. I paid for their apps (macOS, iOS, and Windows) some time ago, and I’m not really having any trouble with them, but I’ve been somewhat dissatisfied with the Windows app, and the new version of that (version 6) has only been available for people using their subscription service.

The subscription service has a few differences from the old model (where you keep your vault files in Dropbox and sync them that way). For one, the old system supports both tags and folders, while the new only supports tags for some reason. I asked, on their forums, for some detail on that, and got a friendly, but fairly disappointing, answer. I’m using both folders and tags. And it looks like folder information isn’t migrated at all; I’d have to manually fix that before migration. And they no longer support “smart folders” at all anymore. Smart folders are basically just saved searches. (They mention that you can still run advanced searches, but don’t say anything about being able to save them.)

So that kind of puts a damper on things. I don’t know why I’d want to move to a paid subscription when I have more functionality in the old software.

They have also just announced that the next major version of their Windows software (version 7) will support “standalone vaults,” meaning that it will work for non-subscription customers. (And it will be a paid upgrade for non-subscription customers.) Of course, they haven’t said anything about a release date for that, and it seems like they’re still not done with version 6 yet, so that could be a way off.

So, the situation is kind of muddy. There are a few things I like about the subscription model, including the nicer Windows software, and the elimination of my current reliance on Dropbox for syncing. But I’ll be able to get the nicer Windows software eventually, apparently, and Dropbox isn’t really a problem, just an inconvenience.

TidBITS has had some good coverage of the back and forth on 1Password subscriptions. And, in other subscription software news, Ulysses has moved to subscription pricing recently. I don’t use Ulysses, but I will mention that their blog post on the move trots out the old cliché, comparing their price to a cup of coffee: “The monthly subscription comes at only $4.99 – that’s pretty much a coffee to go.” No, it’s not, unless you’re buying really expensive coffee!

Ulysses is also available as a part of Setapp, a $10/month subscription service that gets you access to a bunch of Mac apps, and that one also uses the coffee comparison: “Setapp is only $9.99 per month: about as much as you spend on coffee per day.” Really? How much are you people spending on coffee per day? For me, that would be five tall dark roasts from Starbucks. And if I was going to drink that much coffee, I’d buy beans in bulk and brew it myself. (I’m not saying that $10/month isn’t a reasonable cost for Setapp, only that it’s not a reasonable daily cost for coffee consumption.)

One more bit of subscription news: the Pushpin app for iOS, which has languished without any updates for awhile, is probably going to a new model: “ads + subscription to remove.” That seems fair, especially since he’s talking about $1/year. I use Pushpin enough that I’d pay that.

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