Mac mini first to get an Apple ARM chip, but it’s just for devs

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Mac mini with ARM chip
You'll have to wait.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple’s first ARM-powered Mac is a beefy Mac mini featuring an A12Z Bionic processor — the same chip found in the 2020 iPad Pro — and 16GB of RAM. But don’t get too excited. This one is just for developers.

Apple on Monday officially confirmed its plan to ditch Intel processors and pack custom Apple chips into future Macs. For third-party developers to also support the switch and ensure their apps are ready, they need ARM-powered Macs to build on — and they need them now.

So, Apple is offering up an exciting new Mac mini powered by an iPad Pro’s silicon.

The first Mac with an A12Z Bionic

Its official name is the Developer Transit Kit. It looks just like the Mac mini you’ll find in retail stores today, except instead of packing an Intel chip, it has an A12Z Bionic. That’s coupled with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Apple said during its WWDC 2020 keynote that this machine would also feature “a complement of Mac IO ports,” but it’s not yet clear if that means any additional ports you don’t get on consumer Mac mini units.

These special Mac mini models, which will ship running the macOS Big Sur developer beta with Xcode 12, will start shipping this week. Developers will be able to apply for a unit later today.

Everyone else gets ARM later

Apple plans to start shipping its first ARM-powered Mac for consumers — it’s not yet clear what that will be — before the end of 2020. Tim Cook expects a complete transition to take around two years.