Apple Requiring Developers to Return DTK Mac Minis by March 31

Apple today sent out emails to developers who are in possession of a Developer Transition Kit, asking them to return the machines by March 31. The Developer Transition Kits are Mac minis with A12Z chips that Apple provided for development purposes ahead of the release of the M1 Macs.

mac mini developer transition kit photo feature
Apple in the emails provided developers with shipping instructions, and plans to begin collecting the DTKs starting next week. The DTKs featured 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports and an HDMI 2.0 port in addition to the A12Z chip, which was first used in the 2020 iPad Pro models.

Thanks again for participating in the Universal Quick Start Program and committing to building great apps for Mac. We're following up with shipping instructions to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was loaned to you as part of the program. Please take a moment to review these details and ship all DTKs back to us by March 31, 2021.

As we mentioned in our last email, upon confirmed return of the DTK, you'll receive a credit for 500USD in the form of a one-time use promo code valid until the end of 2021. You can use it toward the purchase of a new M1 Mac or other Apple products ordered through the Apple Store Online.

To get one of the DTK units, developers were required to pay $500, and to compensate developers for what they spent, Apple is providing a $500 credit that can be put toward the purchase of any Apple product.

Apple originally planned to give developers $200, but later upped that to $500 after developers complained about the low credit amounts and technical issues that were experienced during the testing process.

Developers will now receive a $500 USD credit after the DTK is received, but Apple is not adjusting that amount for developers who are in other countries. Each developer is receiving the equivalent of $500, and as developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out, that does not match the original cost of the DTK for some developers.


Apple first sent out Developer Transition Kits at the end of June, so developers were able to use them for eight 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.

Top Rated Comments

appleguy123 Avatar
16 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
No one thought they were going to keep it. It was explicit it was a lease.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jerryk Avatar
16 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame..
And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
It was very clear in the agreement that you never owned the unit. And at the time many signed up it was $500 to get on the M1 early and no credit.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
16 months ago
$500 USD is a whole lot better than the $0 you were promised when you signed up for the program. Stop complaining. No one forced developers into this.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fomalhaut Avatar
16 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
1) DTK users didn't pay to buy the machine; they paid to lease it for a contractual period. Anyone who signed the contract knows this. Sounds like you didn't sign (or even read) the contract.

2) The DTK isn't a "developer M1" - it has a stock A12Z SoC on a custom daughter-board. I doubt there is any more useful information to be reverse-engineered in the DTK than there would be in an iPad Pro using the same SoC.

3) If you had a DTK that you returned 2-3 weeks after receiving it, you appear to be surprisingly uninformed about what it was, the purpose of the developer program, and the conditions of the program.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
16 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
terms have always said the device needed to be return to Apple.

did you not read it?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamalien Avatar
16 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
No-one originally thought they were buying it, unless they were ignorant. It was a loan out, and was stated clearly from the beginning that you weren't 'buying' the device. Apple's 500$ credit is not warranted or required in any way; you paid to have early access to get your apps on arm promptly. You were made no promises in your contract that any reimbursement would be made after the contract was over. Why do you think you are entitled to cash lol?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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