Lightricks, the maker of the popular selfie-correcting app Facetune, is debuting a new photo-editing app today called Enlight Photofox. This is the second time that Lightricks has launched the next generation of an existing app as an entirely new, standalone application — a strategy that’s still somewhat rare on today’s App Store, outside of sequels to games, like Monument 2 or Candy Crush Soda Saga, for example.
Instead, traditional app makers are often expected to roll out upgrades to existing users indefinitely — at least, according to their apps’ user base. That’s not always fair, considering how much time and energy are put into some of their bigger upgrades — like entire redesigns, expanded feature sets or the launch of an iPad version, among other things.
A handful of developers have found ways to work around the App Store’s lack of paid upgrades, though. For instance, when Tweetbot released a new version of its Twitter app, it packaged both the old and new one as a “bundle,” which allowed it to upgrade existing customers to the new release through the “complete my bundle” feature.
Lightricks, on the other hand, has taken a different path.
When it launched its Facetune sequel last year, it also introduced a new business model for the company. While its original app is a $3.99 paid download without in-app purchases, Facetune 2 is a free download offering in-app purchases for individual features; and it offers a subscription option that provides unlimited access to all features and content.
Enlight Photofox, similarly, is the big upgrade to Lightricks’ existing app, Enlight.
The original app, by way of background, was Apple’s App of the Year for 2015, the No. 11 best-selling paid iOS app in 2016 and the recipient of an Apple Design Award in 2017.
In addition to a full suite of editing tools that come free with the base version of the new app, Photofox introduces a Photoshop-inspired layers system, which allows you to combine multiple photos, blending them and merging them along the way.
You can edit the individual layers, erase items from backgrounds, control the opacity of an image, transform the shape, size and perspective, flip layers vertically or horizontally, fill layers with colors or patterns and more.
Meanwhile, a new Darkroom feature gives you granular control over adjustments to things like tone, contrast and image details.
Some of Photofox’s tools come free, like those to define the canvas size, add vignettes and blurs, or mimic analog light, while others are paid, like those to heal defects or reshape objects,
Plus, Photofox ships with new content, like fonts, graphic elements, presets and more, which can be used with the images. This collection is available on subscription and will be updated periodically.
The new features and tools are designed to cater to more advanced users — as with Facetune 2. Though the free app is powerful enough to use on its own, you can opt to pay for full access to all the new features for $3.99 per month, or $19.99 per year. A lifetime purchase is available for $39.99, as well.
Until the launch of Facetune 2, Lightricks was only focused on selling paid units of Facetune and Enlight. Ahead of the shift to subscriptions, the company was making around $10 million a year in revenue. (It has sold 11 million paid units of its apps to date.)
“This shift [to subscriptions] is so far showing some exciting early data, with consumer LTVs [lifetime value] rising to as far as about an order of magnitude above the previous business models, enabling the company to build an even more robust and deep set of tools and technologies to service their customers’ creativity needs on mobile,” a Lightricks rep explained.
The company also says it expects to finish 2017 with a significant bump to revenue, but notes it’s too early to talk numbers. It’s planning to release more apps with the subscription business model in the future, too.
Enlight Photofox is a free download on the App Store.