This is an wonderful program for what it claims to do: plain text writing. But it really shines when one uses it in conjunction with LaTeX and other markup based writing. Why? Because the new features of 1.5 -- like inline style formatting and markers that can be set to export as markup -- can be be set to export as markup. This is excellent for people who like to export ultimately to LaTeX, with all the necessary markup, but do not want to *see* that markup on the screen as they write. This is a *huge* step in LaTeX editing/writing.
So, for example, you can apply styles to text -- for example, a yellow highlight, or the color red. That's what you see on your screen. Then, upon exoprt, you can have that be transformed to something else, such as LaTeX escapes.
Again, this isn't for people who just want to "type up some notes"; go use TextEdit for that. Don't care about plain text or LaTeX, and need RTF? Then Scrivener is the best of the breed (though, it must be said, that Scrivener also has an *awesome* LaTeX export mechanism due to its MMD integration).
The major weakness of Ulsses? The organizer. I understand they have their own philosophy, but ultimately, if I want to export into something PRINTABLE (as opposed to hypertext), then I need an outliner, a folder-type hierarchy. Why? Because that's how books and book-length documents (like theses) are organized. As it stands, Ulysses effectively has a two-level deep hierarchy. When I'm writing a book, or a thesis, that just isn't enough. Long printed publications are hierarchically based; that's reality. And I need a program that allows me to use that intuitive form of organization, and to move parts of the document around that hierarchy on the fly. It's just too hard to keep track of parts, chapters, sections, and subsections of a thesis or a book without as it stands now.
So -- since other have (unfairly) attacked Ulysses and praised the "competition -- let's be fair, and compare them based on relative *merits*: where do each of Ulysses and Scrivener shine (only focusing on strengths not existant in the other; not commenting on "writing software" features they both have)?
Scrivener: it has a database (to store your research files such as other RTFs, web pages, pdfs, etc, that you can then view within the prgoram); it is an RTF editor (if that's what you need); it has an excellent hierarchical organizer and outliner; it has excellent export abilities through MMD.
Ulysses: the ability to apply inline styles or markers that can then be translated into markup upon export is revolutionary, especially for LaTeX users; it is plain text (if that's what you need); you can choose to have inline footnotes, or footnotes in the notes pane; it is one of the most aesthetically pleasant pieces of software I have seen (not that Scrivener is ugly, and this is a subject thing, yes).
If the devs are listening, please put a hierarchical organizer (outliner) at the top of your developing priorities. That is the only thing necessary to make your excellent program perfect for people with plain text/LaTeX needs.
And if you're a user: please don't flame an apple for not being an orange (and mind you, neither are lemons).