So, as I stated previously, here, new versions of aedict are now paid-for. Now the big question, was it worth £3.50 to get it?
For the impatient, the answer is no. For any readers I haven't lost by now (that's assuming anyone even made it as far as "no"), I will elaborate. Aedict3, while being flashier and maybe even easier to navigate, is decidedly less functional than the free version. There are no more "advanced" options; you cannot restrict your search to "starts with", "ends with", or "exact match". To me, this is a big setback: if you're reading through a book and there is a word you've never seen before, there is still a very good chance you'll know what either the starting or the ending character is, and not being able to search on that basis is going to make reading books somewhat more arduous.
Additionally, the search is as accurate as before, typing 問 as a search term brings up words like 受け止める, even though the latter does not contain the former. I'm not sure whether that is an error of aedict or with the dictionary file itself, but either way it doesn't lend itself to quickly finding out what a word is, or to finding out about related words/phrases.
So, as suggested in the title, aedict 3 is a significant step backwards. But I'm not terribly worried about this, and I said before, I owe the author at least a beer for his previous efforts, the quality (or lack thereof) of aedict 3 wasn't a factor in my purchase.
I hope that future versions of aedict 3 will become as feature-rich as the freely available aedict 2, and while I wouldn't recommend it just now, I would say it could be worth signing onto aedict's google group, and keeping an eye on it.
EDIT: Aedict3 has continued to improve over the months following this blog article, and I'm quite happy to endorse it fully now. See this post.