Apple is releasing a Mac mini with an Apple processor for developers starting this week

Darrell Etherington

Apple is eager to help developers transition to its forthcoming Apple system-on-a-chip-based Mac computers, and it's preparing a number of resources to do that -- including developer hardware. Apple's Developer Transition Kit, which registered developers can apply for via its developer website, includes a Mac mini with an A12Z processor inside, running a pre-release version of macOS Big Sur.

The kit spec includes 16GB of RAM, as well as a 512GB SSD, and will come with Xcode preinstalled so that developers can get working on their apps right away. This is very much pre-release hardware, however -- the first consumer Macs that run on Apple's in-house silicon won't ship until later this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a keynote event for the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

Apple will also still be selling Intel-based Macs, including new ones still in the pipeline, as it transitions to using its own chips, a shift which it expects will take two years to cover the full Mac lineup. But these developer kits will begin shipping out as early as this week to developers who are approved for the program, Cook said -- indicating that Apple is very eager to do what it can to get developers on board with the shift.

In addition to the Developer Transition Kit, Apple has created a Quickstart program to help guide developers through the process of making their apps universal to work natively on the new Apple silicon. That will offer sample code forums and documentation about how to work with the new SoCs. The DTK itself, which includes the hardware, will cost $500, and Apple says it will prioritize those developers who already have an existing macOS application to receive the kits due to limited availability.

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