Apple on Tuesday began the approval process for its Developer Transition Kit, a Mac mini with specialized software that stands ready to usher in a new era of Macs powered by the tech giant's own custom-designed silicon.
Select developers who submitted applications to take part in the Universal App Quick Start Program were on Tuesday notified of acceptance via email. Those chosen by Apple were also charged the $500 fee for access to the company's Developer Transition Kit, which consists of a Mac mini outfitted with an A12Z Bionic SoC similar to ARM-based chips expected to launch with future Macs.
The Mac mini testbed also includes 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and modernized input/output hardware in two USB-C ports, two USB 3 ports, HDMI 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. That compares to current generation Intel-powered Mac mini models, which feature four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of the USB-C pair on the development kit.
Along with an ARM heart, the Mac mini comes complete with Apple's new macOS Big Sur development beta and Xcode 12.
As usual, developers must submit to a confidentiality agreement that states program participants cannot "publicly write about or review" the Developer Transition Kit, or share or display the unit without Apple's prior written approval.
Developers are required to return the Developer Transition Kit one year after accepting the Universal App Quick Start Program's terms and conditions. Apple can elect to end the test period at any time.
The Universal App Quick Start Program is the beginnings of Apple's push to migrate away from Intel processors in Mac. Revealed by CEO Tim Cook on Monday, the effort is heralded as the fourth major transition for Mac after a move to PowerPC, the introduction of OS X and, most recently, a switch to Intel processors. The upcoming shift will see Mac move to "Apple silicon" in about two years.