Back in 2021 I’d just gotten an iPad Pro and was loading up on some apps to see if I could use the iPad for real pro work during the day instead of my laptop.

(Original review on that here.)

I found Affinity Photo’s UI a bit clunky, and though I did end up doing several of my professional tasks on the iPad, including video editing with LumaFusion, photo editing wasn’t one of them. What I disliked most about it was the inability to just open photos from other apps. AP seemed to want you to go through their library import feature, which is tedious.

But recently I decided to give it another shot as I was preparing some photos for a client’s Instagram.

“Well, I already bought Affinity Photo before so I’ll just download it again and use it this morning to see what happens,” I thought.

Think again, apparently.

I thought it seemed strange when the Apple Store showed “Get” on the button rather than the cloud symbol showing I’d downloaded it before. After I downloaded and launched it, it popped up asking if I wanted a free trial or could prove I had a license for it.

“License?” I raised an eyebrow. “It was just tied to my AppleID in the app store.”

I searched my emails to make sure I wasn’t crazy and sure enough, I confirmed I’d bought it in April 2021. Their literature promised it was a one-time purchase that was good for all updates. Of course, that was Affinity Photo and not Affinity Photo 2, which is real cute.

This feels like wording trickery and reneging on a promise.

One of the reasons I went with Affinity Photo in 2021 in the first place was its promise of one-time purchase that was good for future updates, versus subscription models of competitors.

I respected the fact that Affinity offered that purchase format, since fewer and fewer apps do these days.

But conveniently renaming the app to Affinity Photo 2 and asking for a new payment feels like a cheap bait and switch. I can just picture someone from the company pointing out very matter of factly:

“Well, we meant future updates for that app. This is technically a new app.”

Technically, most updates increment the version number on apps, Affinity. That doesn’t magically make them a whole new app. And if in your mind it does, you might want to be clearer with people buying your product that the “one-time purchase” isn’t exactly that.

Look, it’s not a crazy expensive app. But the UI on Affinity Photo was never that great on iPad, which was why I didn’t use it for long before. For me to justify paying for it a second time, it’d have to be the kind of app that’s a no-brainer for my iPad.

But it’s not.

And from all the current reviews I read about it, the UI has only gotten worse with the last update.

If they’re going to create an “all new app” with an all new fee, the implication is that there are major improvements to justify it.

It was precisely the situation where I’d give it another spin only because I already owned it and it’d cost me nothing today. If that’s not the case, forget it.

In a one-off scenario maybe $21 isn’t that big a deal. But from a business standpoint, how can someone make financial plans if every time they buy tools they are hit with a “gotcha” and have to pay again, randomly?

Imagine if that happened on the vast majority of business purchases you made. It’d be madness.

I have an Adobe subscription and while I am not a fan of their subscription model, they have at least stuck to their word that the Lightroom I got on MacBook would also work on my iPad. It does. Glad someone is still offering what they promised when I first got out my debit card.

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