For the last week, the main controversy in the Apple world has been Smile’s decision to add cloud-based snippet sharing to their TextExpander text-expansion utility and switch to a subscription model (“TextExpander 6 Adds Teams and Subscription Billing,” 6 April 2016). Smile took flak from people who dislike subscription software, individuals who had no use for snippet sharing, folks who try to avoid cloud-based software, and those who felt the total price was too high. (Full disclosure: Smile is a longtime TidBITS sponsor.)
Smile is now walking back some of those decisions in two major ways:
The company will continue to sell and support the standalone versions of TextExpander 5 for the Mac and TextExpander 3 for iPhone & iPad. Although there was some initial confusion as to whether or not this meant that these apps would receive ongoing development, Smile founder Greg Scown told me, “It’s a very feature rich product. We’ll be listening to our customers’ needs, and plan to bring in new features where they most benefit, as well as continue development to ensure OS compatibility.” So yes, the standalone versions will continue to evolve in the future. The Mac version of TextExpander costs $44.95 and TextExpander touch 3 + Custom Keyboard for iOS is $4.99 on the App Store.
The Life Hacker subscription plan for individuals using TextExpander 6 is now priced at $40 per year, down from $47.52. Even more significant, customers with current licenses for any previous version of TextExpander now receive a 50 percent lifetime discount, dropping the subscription price to $20 per year for as long as the subscription is renewed. Upgrading customers who want to test-drive the new version can pay $2.08 per month before committing to the $20-per-year plan. Plus, for those who purchased TextExpander after 1 December 2015, the first three months of the Life Hacker plan are free. (Team subscription pricing for TextExpander 6 remains the same at $7.96 per user per month, billed annually, which works out to $95.52 per year.)
It’s unfortunate that Smile’s desire to expand into the business market with snippet sharing got tangled up with the needs of individual customers. This revised approach should answer the criticisms of the previous plan, satisfying both those who like TextExpander the way it is and those who stand to benefit from the new features.