Readdle launched PDF Expert 7 today with a few new features and a whole new business plan. The app was previously paid up front with an in-app purchase for advanced features. With the release of version 7 though, Readdle has moved the features that were previously part of PDF Expert's In-App purchase and some of what was part of the basic paid up app into a PDF Expert Pro subscription which costs $ 49.99 / year with a 7-day free trial. However, despite the change, existing PDF Expert 6 customers will retain the features they purchased under the old model.
The free version of PDF Expert allows users to access and manage PDF files from cloud services, read and comment on PDF files, and fill out PDF forms. In addition to the other PDF Expert 6 features that are now part of PDF Expert 7's Pro subscription, Readdle has added three features: converting Word, Excel and image files to PDF format, PDF compression to reduce file sizes and customizable app toolbars. For a complete overview of free features and subscription only, check out Lesle's blog post about the update, which also shows what features existing customers will keep.
The move of Readdle to a free app plus a subscription is an interesting one that we have seen before with other apps, including in the PDF app market. It is a model that makes a lot of sense for a category where users' needs vary a lot from extremely simple to complex. Whether the price point and feature package Readdle has chosen is attractive to enough users to maintain the app's subscription will be up to the market to decide, but I reckon this is a trend we will continue to see with feature rich apps like this. [1
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