After the announcement that it was abandoning Intel chips, Apple made it clear that it intends to make a smooth transition to its own chips for both developers and, of course, consumers.
For developers, the company announced the Universal App Quick Start Program, an “initiative” that provides “all the tools, resources and support needed to create, test and optimize your next generation of universal applications for macOS Big Sur“.
With exclusive access to a transition kit for Macs with Apple Silicon, resources and individual technical support, developers will have the necessary basis to prepare their apps before the new Macs equipped with Ma chips are launched / marketed.
More precisely, this kit includes:
- Testing software and tools: full access to the beta versions of Xcode and macOS Big Sur, plus tools needed to develop universal applications for Macs with Apple Silicon.
- Labs for developers: opportunity to obtain technical information, best practices and guidance on how to program an app with Apple experts.
- Technical support: option to request support at the engineering level, in order to solve possible problems with the hardware (limited).
- Private forums: exclusive contact with engineers and other members of the program.
- Development resources: access to videos and documents on the development and testing of universal applications.
- Developer Transition Kit (DTK): supply of an exclusive Mac mini equipped with an A12Z Bionic chip, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, running macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12.
For all this, the developer has to untie $ 500 it's a reasonable price if we take into account that the cheapest Mac mini today costs $ 800. Still, the developer does not keep the machine, it will be necessary to return everything to Apple after the end of the program.
In 2005, Apple made a transition kit available to developers, which cost $ 1,000 and had to be returned to the company by the end of 2006; when a developer or company returned, however, Apple delivered a first-generation Intel iMac was a good deal for developers, and Apple is expected to follow a similar path now, who knows.
Before “purchasing” the kit, however, I need to comply with some requirements: first, the developer must send an app as a form of selection and those who are approved will receive a link with access to the program. According to Ma, candidates who already have an app for macOS will have priority, as availability is limited.
Another requirement depends on the location of the developer. In this case, to qualify for the program, you must be a full developer of the Apple Developer Program in one of the following countries or regions: Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Singapore, South Korea, Denmark, Spain, States United States, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.
All terms and conditions of the program can be seen in this PDF.