Apple boosts trade-in value for Mac mini prototypes to soothe angry devs

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Mac mini with ARM chip
Apple more than doubled the trade-in on the early return of the Mac mini Developer Transition Kit.
Photo: Apple

Apple sweetened the deal offered to developers for the early return of the Mac mini that they used to test macOS Big Sur running on Apple Silicon. Friday, the company responded to complaints that it wasn’t offering enough for the Developer Transition Kits by more than doubling the amount of money previously offering for the units.

The Devs paid $500 to lease the specially-made Mac mini DTK units for one year. Earlier this week, though, Apple asked for them back early, and offered $200 in credit.

Apple sweetens the deal on Developer Transition Kit

Noted developer Steve Troughton-Smith received an email from Apple late Friday. In the note, Apple says, “Instead of the 200 USD credit that expires in May, we are giving you a 500 USD Apple credit and extending the time you could use it to get a new and went back through the end of the year.“

Many of the complaints about the earlier offer pointed out that $200 was insufficient to buy a Mac mini to continue testing application on the new Apple M1 processor. The new $500 offer, on the other hand, offer covers most of the cost, as the computer starts at $699. The devs will have paid $199 for months of early access to the DTK.

DTK was leased not purchased

The Developer Transition Kit was offered as a way to allow third-party developers to convert their software written for Intel Macs to Apple Silicon.

The kits started going out soon after Apple’s Developers Conference in 2020 where the company announced the transition away from Intel processors. That was months before the Apple M1’s debut, so the test unit uses an Apple A12Z Bionic processor from the 2020 iPad Pro.

Apple didn’t sell the units — they were leased. Developers always knew they’d have to return them.