Smarty Ears is officially announcing the phase-out of the pay one-time fee model for all its assessment apps. We have made the difficult choice to move to a more sustainable pay-per-use and/or subscription model on all our assessment apps. This transition has already been implemented with two of our apps: iTap and AAT. We have implemented the switch differently with each app and we would like to explain in detail our decision and what it means to you.
Why has Smarty Ears made this decision?
You may have noticed that subscription-style has been the name of the game for many years now. While we have avoided this type of model for our apps, it is clear that given the many changes in iOS requirements, developers are being put into a place where bugs are introduced on the app, and in order for our apps to keep running smoothly costly adaptations are needed (even if we are not adding any new features). Smarty Ears has been in the app development business from the start ( before the iPad was released). Many of you own apps that u paid $9.99 eleven years ago while having the options to redeem app promo codes as well, you have expected and we have delivered yearly updates with each new iOS release. Unfortunately, we have seen that 98% or more of apps for speech therapy created over the last 10 years are left with no support or completely removed from the store. This is an unfortunate occurrence and we do not want to join the 98%.
Given Apple’s strict guidelines and restrictions, we have two options: we can update an existing app with a switch to a subscription, or we can remove the existing app and create a new link for the subscription-based app. We know that neither option is ideal for you who already bought our app in the last 10 years. However, we don’t have a third option where we can continue to invest in updates to keep up with iOS demands for a one-time fee. We have attempted both models with both of the apps that we have already transitioned models: AAT and iTap. We have come to understand that the model in which you get to keep your app, AS IS, for as long as you can is the best option for you and that’s how we will proceed with our other apps including the articulation scenes app.
What does that mean to you?
If you own iTap and have purchased it in the last year, you can send us a message with your receipt and we will provide either a one-year access for free to you or any other Smarty Ears app on the value of iTap. We do understand this may have been upsetting for some people and we apologize. We made the decision to switch iTap as one of our apps with the most incompatible code on iOS 13, and it contained a few issues and without that update, the data on the app might have invalid results. We removed the app from the store as soon as we learned of this issue.
For all other apps (Including the Articulation Assessment Toolkit/Custom Boards/BAPA) you will be able to keep your app on the device for as long as Apple allows without any future updates. This is a very vague statement because we, developers, can’t predict how Apple’s decision on which code is obsolete and how it will impact the app’s function. It may be that you will be able to continue using some of you your “pay one-time fee” app versions until iOS 21 but others may have crashing buys or inaccurate data by iOS 14. You will ultimately decide that if you plan on updating to a new iOS, you may end up with a nonfunctional app. If at that point, you decide to switch to the new version of the app, it will be your choice. All of Smarty Ears pay-per-use model apps will have frequent updates and you can expect to receive the same customer support as you have received for the last 10 years.
What are the plans for therapy apps?
At this point, Smarty Ears has plans to switch to a pay-per-use model on all its assessment apps and Custom Boards which had both options for a few years. While we don’t have any plans to switch our therapy apps at this time, it is likely that the entire industry will switch to a pay-per-use model, and we will likely move in this direction in the future as well.
We appreciate your understanding as we transition. It is not a decision that came lightly to us, but one that was inevitable.
What is something positive coming out of this?
There are two very positive consequences of this model. All of our brand new Smarty Ears pay-per-use model solutions will come either with a free 7-day trial ( iTap) or free administrations for you to try out. This is something we have been asked often for the last 10 years, but it was not possible to offer with the pay one-time fee model. Also, the apps may make the apps more affordable. Our assessment apps are some of our most expensive apps, and we have reduced the price to 1/3 on our yearly plan.