Notability removes users with a membership model, but should they be angry? (Updated)
Update (03/11/2022): In a new post, the company said the current subscribers will have access to key features:
Everyone who purchased Notability will have a lifetime opportunity before we switch to membership on November 1, 2022, all existing features and any previously purchased content in the app.
It's hard to find a great note - taking app that works across all of your devices, but if you're in Apple's ecosystem, Notability is one of them.
The good news is that the app is now free, but is it really? The app is transitioning to a membership model that asks you to pay an annual fee of $ 14.99 (currently $ 11.99) for its main features.
First, the good news: the app (used to be $ 8.99) is now free! Well, kinda. Notability is switching to a membership model, which requires you to pay a one-year fee of $ 14.99 (currently $ 11.99) for its main features.
Here is a summary of the features between the free and premium versions of the app:
The new change makes the app available to more customers, but what about existing users? People who already made the $ 8.99?Well, Gingers Labs, the company behind Notability, says it will give you access to key features for a year, but then you have to pay up. Here is his statement:
You will be able to continue using Notability as you do now for the next year for free. You will still have access to any products or technology you have previously purchased. If you want access to more high-quality content or technology like MyScript Handwriting Recognition and Good Conversation, you can choose to subscribe at any time.
Many people who have paid for key features in the past, appreciate this new model. That's if there's something to go on Twitter:
“You will be able to use the app for free for a year”
The app I already paid for ????
The free version is literally shit, it has almost no features. pic.twitter.com/BlIKkbZBPk
- Atharv Mendhe (@atharvmendhe) November 1, 2022
Fuck you. Fuck who made this decision. Fuck your ass. Notability was the best app. Now it's just like any other note - taking app. https://t.co/wCshQbvpJo
- ْ (@TarnishedShura) November 1, 2022
That surprised him @NotabilityApp moving to a membership model. I happily paid for the separate Mac and iOS versions of Notability all the way back in 2015, and it goes with me through 3 levels now. Very upset that his grandfather is not inside; changing.
- Colin Whaley, MSc (@colin_whaley) November 1, 2022
Reddit startups also noted that this change could violate Apple's app store membership rules. Here is the full idea:
Apple's instructions, 3.1.2 (a) state:
If you are converting your existing app to a membership-based business model, you should not remove the key functions that existing users have paid for. For example, allow customers who have already “unlocked fully” access to the full game after you have introduced a membership module for new customers.
I think this applies to Notability and if consumers put enough emphasis on this issue, they may allow high end customers to continue using them without a subscription.
We have asked the company to clarify whether this change applies to the app, and we will update the story if we hear back.
Looking at this from the dev side
As a consumer, it's legitimate to be complacent when you have to pay for products and features you've already discovered in the past, but it's important to look at this from the dev side as well.
The nature of the development and what people expect from apps has changed rapidly over the last few years. Users expect stable bug fixes, updates, and new features.
Combine this with the cost of things like hosting servers and you will see why the Ginger labs team made this decision.
Still, it's a bitter pill to swallow to pay for a piece of software you've already purchased.
You can read more about Notability pricing changes, and the features of the new app here.