Last year Apple leased the Developer Transition Kit Mac minis to help developers prepare for Apple Silicon.
Apple's transition from Intel chips to Apple Silicon was one of the biggest Mac changes in years. To make this process as seamless as possible for users, Apple created a custom Mac mini for developers to prepare their macOS apps to support Apple's new ARM-based system.
Developers had to pay $ 500 to lease these Developer Transition Kit desktop Macs in 2020. When Apple announced it at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), it said the lease would last for a year. However, Apple has asked for them to be returned early – and are offering developers $ 200 credit in exchange.
Apple's Developer Transition Kit Macs
The DTK Macs were not a pre-release version of the M1 Mac mini that shipped in late 2020. With Apple's A12Z Bionic chip, usually found in the 2020 fourth generation iPad Pro, it was more of a MacOS-running iPad in the body of a Mac mini.
"It's not a basis for judging future Macs … but it does give you an idea of what our Silicon team can do if they don't even try – and they will," said Apple's vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi stated in an interview with Daring Fireball's John Gruber after WWDC.
In an email published by 9to5Mac that Apple sent to developers who leased a DTK Mac, it said:
"Now that the new MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro with M1 are available, it will soon be time to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was sent to you as part of the program. Find the original packaging that was used to return the DTK . We will send you an email in a few weeks with instructions on how to return the DTK. "
The base model Mac mini with Apple's M1 chip starts at $ 699. If developers choose to use $ 200 credit to purchase a credit, it means they can pick up an M1 Mac mini for the same price they paid for the DTK Mac.
Prepare the next generation of Mac apps
Of course, not every developer will be happy to see Apple asking about their DTK Macs in advance. While the developers knew this was a temporary lease, a one-year lease should have got them through June rather than February.
Assuming you've used it correctly, it should have helped accomplish the task it was designed to do: namely, preparing the first generation of Apple Silicon apps for macOS. Developers should now reap the rewards.
Apple's new M1 chip is a game changer: everything you need to know
Here's everything you need to know about Apple's new M1 chip, including what it does and what it means to have a chip.
About the author
(122 articles published)
Luke has been an Apple fan since the mid-1990s. His primary interests in technology are smart devices and the interface between technology and the liberal arts.
From Luke Dormehl
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter to receive tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive offers!
One more step …!
Please confirm your email address in the email we just sent you.