The new Apple TV will be free to (some) developers

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The new Apple TV will be provided free to developers who win Apple's lottery.
The new Apple TV will be provided free to developers who win Apple's lottery.
Photo: Apple

In what appears to be a first, Apple is providing free hardware for software developers.

Monday could be the lucky day for a limited number of developers who signed up for the Apple TV Developer Kit.

Not only will they get the new hardware six weeks in advance of it going on sale, they’ll get it for free, Apple has confirmed.

The new Apple TV is the first set-top box from Apple to include an App Store, which will allow users to download third-party apps.

Naturally, developers are eager to start building software for the device ahead of its debut in late October, and Apple is providing a number of Apple TVs for development and testing.

However, supply of the Apple TV Developer Kits is limited, so the company is holding a drawing on Monday September 14th. Developers who register before then on Apple’s website are eligible, and Apple has said that teams with apps already on the App Store will be given priority in the selection process.

Developers had assumed they would be charged the retail price for the hardware ($149-$199), plus shipping charges, but an official posing on Apple’s Developer Forums says that they will be charged just $1 (to verify the shipping address).

An Apple staffer known as pdm wrote.

I can confirm that you will only be charged the $1 for the development kit.

We’re really excited to be able to provide this opportunity to get your hands on this new hardware in advance of it being generally available. Can’t wait to see what amazing apps you all come up with!

I’d strongly encourage everybody to register to receive one (provided you meet the eligibility requirements). You can do so here: https://developer.apple.com/tvos/developer-kit/

As one developer noted in the forum thread: “Apple has never provided free hardware to developers.”

The Apple TV Developer Kit includes the new Apple TV, Apple TV Remote, power cord, Lightning to USB cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, and documentation. But typical of Apple secrecy, the lucky winners have to keep the device under wraps. They are not allowed to write about, review, or even display the Apple TV Developer Kit.

For the rest of us, the Apple TV will be available in late October. The 32GB version will cost $149 and a 64GB model will be $199.

Via @ stroughtonsmith.