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Apple discounts Mac Developer Program subscription to $99

Apple this week slashed hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of dollars from the cost of its Mac Developer Program annual subscription, which now carries a flat fee of $99 per year.

Previously, developers had to pay between $499 for the "Select" tier and $3,499 for the "Premier" categorization. The newly revamped Mac Developer Program is modeled after Apple's wildly successful iPhone Developer program, and offers technical resources, support and more.

Developers who subscribe receive pre-release versions of forthcoming software for Mac OS X, including the operating system itself.

"Receiving pre-release Mac OS X software is an exclusive benefit for all Mac Developer Program members," the official developer site reads, "and allows developers to begin incorporating the latest technologies into their development process, test for compatibility, and report bugs."

Subscribers also gain access to the Apple Developer Forums, where they can discuss development topics with Mac developers and Apple engineers. The program also offers exclusive development videos from Apple engineers and experts.

Xcode tools are still available as a free download, but access to pre-release software and Apple's technical support are available only with the $99 annual subscription.

With more than 140,000 applications available for download on the iPhone App Store, developers have embraced Apple's mobile platform with the iPhone OS. The coming release of the iPad, based on the iPhone OS, has generated even more interest in the mobile operating system.

With so many developers finding success on the iPhone, Apple is undoubtedly looking to court more developers to write for the Mac platform. At $99, the Mac Developer Program carries the same annual price as the iPhone Developer Program.