Apple Asks Developers to Return DTK Mac Minis in Exchange for $200 Credit Toward M1 Mac

Ahead of the release of the M1 Macs, Apple provided developers with a Developer Transition Kit that included a Mac mini equipped with an A12Z Bionic chip first used in the iPad Pro, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port.

mac mini developer transition kit photo

Image via Axel Roest

These DTKs were offered up on a temporary basis to developers who paid $500 for access, and were aimed at giving developers a way to create Universal apps to prepare for the transition from Intel processors to Apple silicon chips.

Apple is now asking developers to return their Developer Transition Kits in exchange for a one-time use code that will provide a $200 discount on an ‌M1‌ Mac.

Thank you for participating in the Universal App Quick Start Program and your continued commitment to building great apps for Mac. Response to the new Macs has been incredible, and we love the fantastic experiences developers like you have already created for Mac users.

Now that the new MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro powered by M1 are available, it'll soon be time to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was sent to you as part of the program. Please locate the original packaging for use in returning the DTK. We'll email you in a few weeks with instructions for returning the DTK.

In appreciation of your participation in the program and to help with your continued development of Universal apps, you'll receive a one-time use code for 200 USD to use toward the purchase of a Mac with M1, upon confirmed return of the DTK. Until your program membership expires one year after your membership start date, you'll have continued access to other program benefits such as Technical Support incidents and private discussion forums.

Apple first sent out Developer Transition Kits at the end of June, so developers have had them on hand for the last seven months. Developers were meant to have a year with the DTK for app development purposes, but other benefits that include a private discussion forum and technical support will continue to be available for the full 12 month period.

Some developers are unhappy with Apple's compensation given the initial $500 price of the DTK program and the bugs that were experienced that made using the DTK difficult. The last time Apple had a similar program for the transition from PowerPC to Intel chips, Apple provided developers with the first Intel-based Mac for free.


The $200 credit can be used for any Mac, and the $699 ‌Mac mini‌ would be the cheapest option available to developers who want to pick up a new ‌M1‌ Mac for continued development. The credit must be used by the end of May.

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Top Rated Comments

connormw Avatar
44 months ago

Really, Steve Troughton-Smith? Apple never promised you a thing, but you're complaining about a measly $200?

Really self entitled there.

I bet he saw that Apple gave developers a full iMac after returning the Intel transition kit and he was hoping to get a Mac mini so that's why he got one. ?‍♂️
Really? THEY are self-entitled? Let’s look at the situation here.

Apple charged $500 for the DTK. Developers bought it to build and transition software for APPLE’S platform so that when the new devices came out, there was a strong catalog.

Now, Apple wants it back. And owners are getting less than half of what they spent on it back as a credit to be used in three months on machines that are nearly 4x as expensive as the credit.

Apple posted a record-breaking quarter this week. And yet this is how they treat their developers?
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
44 months ago
Steve Jobs took care of Apple’s development community. When Jobs announced the transition from PowerPC to Intel, developers at WWDC 2005 could purchase an Intel Pentium 4 (installed in a PowerMac G5 case) DTK for $999

When Apple had those developers return those DTK, those developers were given a free Intel based iMac.

Tim Cook could either give those developers a base model M1 Mac mini or a $499 credit towards a new Mac. But no, gotta make money off of those who support your ecosystem. ??

Remember, developers didn’t own those $999 Intel DTK or the $499 Apple Silicon DTK. Developers technically rented them for $999 and $499. But it was goodwill and to show appreciation on Job’s part to give the Intel DTK developers a free iMac.

Timmy could learn a thing or two.
Score: 82 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ikramerica Avatar
44 months ago
Emily Litella: “Back in the Intel transition days, Apple was flush with cash and could just give away a $300 (net cost to them) Intel Mac to their developers.

But now, Apple is barely scraping by, and can only afford to make a reduced profit on selling you a first gen M1, but only before WWDC and the introduction of much better machines.”

Jane Curtin: “But Emily, Apple has so much cash they could buy many small countries.”

“Nevermind...”
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TracesOfArsenic Avatar
44 months ago
This is how Timmy gets his spreadsheets to look good!

Talk about all-round scummy behaviour from Apple.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eroslws Avatar
44 months ago
It’s almost as if Apple doesn’t care about developers’ feelings. Shocker. Lol.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
44 months ago

It really ticks me off to see developers whining about not getting a bigger discount. Apple never promised one to begin with. They should say thank you for the kind gesture and move on with their life, instead of acting like impudent children.
You must not have been around during the Intel transition in 2005-2006 then. Jobs treated the developer community much differently.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)