Give The Gift of an App Subscription This Christmas

Anything But Fruit’s remaining December episodes will be a two-part Festive Gift Guide Special. On the shows, we’ll run down the top ten gifts for your tech-loving loved one — gifts that are ideal both for the stocking and as main presents. Make sure you check out the episodes — they’ll be available Friday 8th & Friday 15th December.

On the show, we’ll talk you through the great physical gifts, but now app subscriptions are getting more prevalent (and expensive), they’re also a great idea for a gift for your tech-loving loved one.

Over the last year or so, app subscriptions have become a legitimate way for app developers to make money from their apps. For years, we’ve been subject to a situation where (a) app developers aren’t making money from their truly great products or (b) we’d have great apps, ruined by ugly, intrusive ads. These two situations aren’t ideal.

In many cases, charging a one-time fee for an app isn’t great either. It means that an app developer never gets rewarded for updating their app, & app-buyers don’t get to try before they buy.

Enter the app subscription.

Paying regularly to use a great app is seemingly here to stay. I didn’t know how to feel about this at first — some of my favourite apps have gone subscription-only — but, like any service in the real world — if it’s good, you gotta pay.

With this in mind, here’s five app subscriptions that any tech loving loved one will be thrilled with…

Headspace

Headspace isn’t what you’d expect. It’s a mindfulness app, but what sets it apart form the rest is the charming personality of Andy, your mindfulness coach. When you open the app for the first time, you’re introduced to the virtues of taking a little time for yourself every day, and very quickly you’re along a path to genuine mindfulness.

Headspace isn’t “spiritual” in the classic sense — it allows the everyperson access to mindfulness. Andy & co avoid references to religion & meditation, and put mindfulness in a language everyone can understand.

It’s one of my favourite apps, and has had a profound affect on my day. We actually spoke about this way back in Episode 2 of Anything But Fruit, which you can hear here.

Headspace is available for £74.99/year, £9.99/month or, if you really love this person, you can become a lifetime subscriber for £399.99.

Day One

In a similar way, Day One is one of my favourite apps. It stays in my Dock on my iPhone & iPad, so I’ve got easy access to my journal.

In the same vein as taking some time for yourself at the beginning of the day, it’s also incredibly important to take some time to reflect at the end. Day One helps you do exactly that. It’s a comprehensive journaling app, allowing you to have multiple journals for the different aspects of your life. It’s clean, simple, syncs across your devices, and makes taking a little time to reflect on your day a walk in the park (you could actually journal whilst walking in the park, thinking about it).

I use it to clarify thoughts in my personal life, and to learn from every day in my professional life.

Day One is available for free, but the Premium Service offers a lot more, including an unlimited number of journals, photos & cloud sync. That’ll cost you £3.49/month or £31.99/year.

Ulysses

I’m actually using Ulysses to write this post right now. It’s an incredible way to write, as it gets rid of distractions and focuses simply on writing.

Ulysses is based on Markdown, a really simple language that affords writers great formatting options without getting in the way of the writing process. I was sceptical at first; I didn’t understand how it worked or why it was necessary, but I recently invested some time in learning how, and I can tell you — it’s brilliant.

Markdown allows you to format your text and then export it in a lot of different ways. This particular post will be formatted for the site, but with one tap it’ll transform it into a PDF, a .docx file, or even HTML.

Basically — if your loved one needs to write for your job, get Ulysses. It’s ace.

Ulysses starts with a 14 day free trial, and is then either £4.49/month or £35.99/year.

A Subscription to Their Favourite News Outlet on Apple News

I’ve found Apple News to be a really solid News Aggregator, and with iOS 11 that includes Siri Intelligence, meaning the more you read, the more it can suggest new topics & articles.

Publications will often simply support their writing with ads, but more and more are now offering subscriptions via Apple News. In the UK, for example, you can subscribe to The Telegraph for £1.99/week, or National Geographic for £2.29/month.

Apple Music (or Spotify… I Guess…)

Streaming services like Apple Music (or Spotify) have been around for a little while now, and are so much more than just catalogues of music. A particular highlight from Apple Music for me is the exclusives that Beats 1 have — from Elton John’s Rocket Hour to Zane Lowe’s back-catalogue of shows. Apple Music’s Playlists are great too — there’s a huge selection of human-built playlists, as well as “New”, “Favourites” & “Chill” Mixes — which use machine learning to update weekly based on what you’re listening to.

There’s a lot of options for Apple Music — you can buy your loved one a year’s subscription for £99, which ends up as 12 months for 10, or it’ll be £9.99/month. If your loved one is student, it’s £4.99/month, and you can also sign up for the family plan, to share between up to 6 people, for £14.99/month.