Apple requests return of Apple Silicon Developer Transition Kits, offers $200 toward purchase of M1 Mac

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Apple on Wednesday said it will soon request developers who took part in the Universal App Quick Start Program to return their Developer Transition Kit, a custom Mac mini powered by an A12Z Bionic system-on-chip.

The company in an email notified developers that it will "soon be time to return" the DTK, hardware issued to prepare app makers for the release of Apple Silicon Macs.

"Now that the new MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro powered by M1 are available, it'll soon be time to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was sent to you as part of the program," Apple says.

Fitted with an A12Z, the Mac mini was equipped with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, trappings designed to mimic the first M1 Mac computers. It came loaded with a beta version of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12.

Developers accepted into the Universal App Quick Start Program were charged a $500 fee for access to the DTK. Apple is not refunding the $500, though it is offering a $200 promotional code that can be used toward the purchase of a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac mini equipped with an M1 chip. Codes will be sent out upon receipt of returned DTKs and must be redeemed by May 31, 2021.

Some app makers are not pleased with Apple's compensation structure. As noted by Steve Troughton-Smith, $200 doesn't cover a third of the cost of Apple's cheapest M1 Mac, the $700 Mac mini.

Apple says developers can expect to be contact in the next "few weeks" with instructions on how to return the test box.