Apple Developer Transition Kits with Apple Silicon sports a A12Z chip in a $500 Mac mini

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2020
As part of Apple's move from Intel to ARM for macOS and Macs, developers will be able to apply for a Developer Transition Kit, which will be the first Mac Apple produces using its self-designed silicon.




Following the monumental announcement that Apple is moving from Intel over to its own processor designs, Apple has confirmed it will be providing developers with hardware assistance. Developers are able to apply for a Developer Transition Kit, which will allow them to produce and try out apps under the new platform.

The Developer Transition Kit consists of a Mac mini enclosure containing an A12Z system-on-chip. It will be supported by 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD for storage. Ports on the unit include a pair of USB-A ports at 5Gbps, and a pair of USB-C ports at 10Gbps. Notably, Thunderbolt 3 is absent.




The kit will be preinstalled with the macOS Big Sur developer beta, along with Xcode.

Apple's shift in silicon will be on an aggressive schedule, with it planning to release its first ARM-based Mac before the end of 2020, while a complete move over to Apple Silicon will take place within two years.

Access to the developer's kit retails for $500 with "limited use" of the system. It isn't clear if this means that the system is a rental, but it seems likely as it used similar language for the Intel transition kit.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    Exciting for sure
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 38
    dk49dk49 Posts: 86member
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    lkruppjohnbearKITAwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    It was mentioned in the official press release: $500. It is a very good deal to me.
    jony0repressthisDeelronwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    And "as part of the program, you’ll have limited access to a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which will be shipped to you, for developing and testing your Universal apps. The DTK is owned by Apple and must be returned."
    randominternetpersonjony0repressthiselijahgfastasleepDeelronllamaviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 38
    If this thing has a real GPU in it, that's it for my trash can. Maybe Apple's GPUs will be OK, because the current mini's are useless.

    williamlondonlkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 38
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    And "as part of the program, you’ll have limited access to a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which will be shipped to you, for developing and testing your Universal apps. The DTK is owned by Apple and must be returned."
    That's a real shame it has to be returned.

    OTOH these will be like gold dust but priced like platinum ingots in 10 to 20 years time!

    I suspect the first ARM Mac will be the Mac Mini, maybe based around the next iPad SoC rather than the eventual full Mac SoC.
    jony0llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    If this thing has a real GPU in it, that's it for my trash can. Maybe Apple's GPUs will be OK, because the current mini's are useless.
    The A12Z has a GPU that is about 2x to 3x faster in GeekBench Metal than the UHD 630 in the Mac mini. It's fast enough for the DTK.
    jony0pujones1FlytrapfastasleepDeelronviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    thttht Posts: 3,931member

    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    And "as part of the program, you’ll have limited access to a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which will be shipped to you, for developing and testing your Universal apps. The DTK is owned by Apple and must be returned."
    This is basically the same arrangement as the DTK for the PPC to Intel transition, except that one cost $1000 instead of $500. Apple may provide developers a $500 coupon or discount for official ARM Macs when they ship.

    llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 38
    rcfarcfa Posts: 946member
    A pity, with these specs a iPad Pro with MagicKeyboard would have been sufficient; was hoping one might just do an install on either the iPad or an USB SSD and use the iPad for development...
    johnbearwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,886member
    rcfa said:
    A pity, with these specs a iPad Pro with MagicKeyboard would have been sufficient; was hoping one might just do an install on either the iPad or an USB SSD and use the iPad for development...
    It is clear that a iPad could run a touch version of macOS (or with keyboard, the same version) given it’s the same chip. Why not a touch version of a Mac? A DeskPad.
    johnbearwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 38
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,303member
    The fastest Mac mini ever built.  16GB RAM. 512GB SSD.  No TB3, but t's gonna scream (compared to the Intel mini).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 503member
    For now, I wouldn't read too much into Thunderbolt being absent. No other A12 device has Thunderbolt, after all. The DTK is using an extended version of a phone chip, which has only ever needed to provide PCIe-like connectivity to the GPU and the SSD controller, both of which are on-die. Never anything external.

    I would expect something like this for the A14 line:

    A14: 2 big, 4 little, 4 GPU, no PCIe, ~3W. Phones and entry-level tablets.
    A14X: 4 big, 4 little, 8 GPU, 4x PCIe, ~7W. Tablets and entry-level Macs. PCIe might not be used in the tablets, or might be used for a Thunderbolt port.
    A14Y: 8 big, 4 little, 16 GPU, 8x PCIe, ~15W. Upgrade for entry-level Macs, base for mid-level Macs.
    A14Z: 16 big, 8 little, 32 GPU, 16x PCIe, ~25W. Upgrade for mid-level Macs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    KTRKTR Posts: 52member
    eriamjh said:
    The fastest Mac mini ever built.  16GB RAM. 512GB SSD.  No TB3, but t's gonna scream (compared to the Intel mini).
    I wonder how many cores are in the Soc chip?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    KTRKTR Posts: 52member
    zimmie said:
    For now, I wouldn't read too much into Thunderbolt being absent. No other A12 device has Thunderbolt, after all. The DTK is using an extended version of a phone chip, which has only ever needed to provide PCIe-like connectivity to the GPU and the SSD controller, both of which are on-die. Never anything external.

    I would expect something like this for the A14 line:

    A14: 2 big, 4 little, 4 GPU, no PCIe, ~3W. Phones and entry-level tablets.
    A14X: 4 big, 4 little, 8 GPU, 4x PCIe, ~7W. Tablets and entry-level Macs. PCIe might not be used in the tablets, or might be used for a Thunderbolt port.
    A14Y: 8 big, 4 little, 16 GPU, 8x PCIe, ~15W. Upgrade for entry-level Macs, base for mid-level Macs.
    A14Z: 16 big, 8 little, 32 GPU, 16x PCIe, ~25W. Upgrade for mid-level Macs

    I wonder if apple will bring cost down with this new design?  I cant wait to see copy cats.  Even if there is, I believe apple will still have the edge ( hardware software combo; BIG SUR)   Others will still need to use windows.  I guess those who are not new to apple will take more interest now.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 38
    flydogflydog Posts: 924member
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    The headlne states:

    Apple Developer Transition Kits with Apple Silicon sports a A12Z chip in a $500 Mac mini

    llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    flydogflydog Posts: 924member

    rcfa said:
    A pity, with these specs a iPad Pro with MagicKeyboard would have been sufficient; was hoping one might just do an install on either the iPad or an USB SSD and use the iPad for development...
    The purpose is to test Mac apps, which generally are used with screens twice the size of an iPad.  Testing Mac apps on an iPad makes very little sense. 
    jony0fastasleepDeelronasdasdwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 38
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,303member
    It was not announced what Apple will name their CPUs.  Apple Silicon is not a name.  It's descriptive.

    I think the they will call them Bionic and start by numbering them with a B.  The first Macs could be identified as using a B1 processor.  They might do B1X, B1Z, depending on the model (Macbook, iMac, etc.)   

    I don't think that they will rename the iMac or Macbooks.   The iMac preceded and succeeded the PPC to Intel CPU change.   There is no reason to change the Macbook names either.  (PowerBook was dropped because they were no longer PowerPC).  

    2021 is going to be exciting.    
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,012member
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    Read the article... $500 and it looks like it will be a rental
    JBSloughwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    KTR said:
    zimmie said:
    I wonder if apple will bring cost down with this new design?

    Apple’s cost? Absolutely. 
    Yours? Not so much.
    llama
  • Reply 20 of 38
    KITAKITA Posts: 352member
    flydog said:
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    The headlne states:

    Apple Developer Transition Kits with Apple Silicon sports a A12Z chip in a $500 Mac mini

    lkrupp said:
    dk49 said:
    They didn't mention how much this kit will cost to the developers. Or is it just free for developers..😅
    Read the article... $500 and it looks like it will be a rental
    Geez, you both need to put your claws away. The article was edited after dk49's post with the pricing.
    elijahgindieshackmuthuk_vanalingamlkrupp
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