Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. While there’s really no contesting Apple’s right to take back the Developer Transition Kits or DTKs it sold to developers last year, developers were a bit taken aback by what Apple was giving them in return. Apple did finally reconsider but it seems that its higher offer for returning the historic DTK wasn’t going to be applied equally in all countries where the kits were distributed.
Just like when it switched from PowerPC to Intel processor in 2005, Apple provided a Developer Transition Kit to help Mac developers prepare their software for the new ARM processor architecture. Although it utilized an Apple A12Z chip rather than the still coming Apple M1 Silicon, the DTK was basically what the M1 Mac mini would eventually be.
It was revealed in early February that Apple wanted those DTKs back since they were really meant just for development purposes. With actual M1 Macs now available in the market, it’s not much of a shocker that Apple would push those developers to buy a retail M1 Mac mini instead. The problem, however, is that Apple initially offered only a $200 credit towards buying a $600 M1 Mac mini for returning a $500 DTK.
Apple did raise the amount to $500 to match the original price developers had to pay to get a DTK. Unfortunately, it is applying that amount equally to all markets, even where the DTKs actually cost more than $500 because of conversion rates between currencies.
Regardless, it seems that Apple isn’t backing down this time and developers, who are probably aware of what they signed up for, will have to send their ARM-based DTKs back by March 31. It will be interesting to see if any of these DTKs reappear someday on eBay and other markets considering their significance in Apple’s history.