PSA for Developers: Mac Mini With A12Z Chip Cannot Be Repaired at Genius Bar or Service Provider

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Apple this week announced that it will be switching to its own custom-designed processors for Macs starting later this year. As part of this transition, the company is allowing developers to apply for a modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip and 16GB of RAM to develop and test their apps on a Mac with Arm-based architecture.


While not too surprising, developers should be aware that this "Developer Transition Kit" is not eligible for repair at a Genius Bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider, according to an internal memo obtained by MacRumors. Instead, developers should contact Apple support, and the company will ship a replacement Mac mini if necessary.

Apple has many other strict rules in place for the A12Z-based Mac mini. For instance, developers are forbidden from disassembling the machine, running any benchmark tests on it, sharing it with others, or discussing it on social media.

Developers who are interested can apply for Apple's Universal App Quick Start Program at a cost of $500, and the Mac mini must be returned at the end.

Article Link: PSA for Developers: Mac Mini With A12Z Chip Cannot Be Repaired at Genius Bar or Service Provider
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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I don't really understand the fascination with benchmarks. It will run the same speed that iPad pros run for short benchmarks, and faster for long benchmarks only because of better cooling. But it's the same chip that we already have, so who cares?
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Do you get the $500 back when you return, or you just give them $500 to loan a machine so you can learn to develop code on Apple Silicone?
You do not get the money back. Though during the ppc->intel transition they gave you a replacement machine (or sold you one cheap - been so long that i don't remember the details). Doesn't mean they'll do so this time, of course.
 

macsplusmacs

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2014
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I’m sure benchmarks will leak out anyways. Hopefully someone takes one apart and shows us what is inside. I would imagine that this A12Z has a heat sink and fan for better performance.
that's interesting. I am better on no fan.

And same for imacs, maybe imac pros they work on some super quiet fan? but i would guess only if they have like 4 A14 in it. or more.
 

ouimetnick

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Aug 28, 2008
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As a hardware nerd, I’m just curious to see what the insides of these Apple silicon based machines look like. I love iFixit’s tear downs, and looking at Apple’s prototypes with the red logic board always is interesting. Someone posted internals of the DTK G5 (with Intel motherboard)
 
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gaximus

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2011
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that's interesting. I am better on no fan.

And same for imacs, maybe imac pros they work on some super quiet fan? but i would guess only if they have like 4 A14 in it. or more.
I'm guessing that they will have new chips for the actual Macs. Like B1 or AX something that could run a lot faster with proper cooling. They just don't want to give up what they have in the works. I would also bet when you buy a new Mac you'll have options for which processor you get.
Base model: A14z
Mid Range: AX1 (or whatever they call it)
High End: AX1s

But this is more of hoping than a guess.
 

Rydawg96

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2018
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As a hardware nerd, I’m just curious to see what the insides of these Apple silicon based machines look like. I love iFixit’s tear downs, and looking at Apple’s prototypes with the red logic board always is interesting. Someone posted internals of the DTK G5 (with Intel motherboard)
Doubt that iFixit will tear it down, considering their Apple Developer account got banned after disassembling the Apple TV dev kit.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
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I don't really understand the fascination with benchmarks. It will run the same speed that iPad pros run for short benchmarks, and faster for long benchmarks only because of better cooling. But it's the same chip that we already have, so who cares?
I for one would like to know whether macOS can deliver the same or better performance than iOS can on comparable hardware. macOS might have overhead where iOS does not. It is also not established how the performance of Rosetta is going to be.
 
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Moonjumper

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Jun 20, 2009
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I suppose Apple doesn't want us to benchmark what is not final Mac hardware and make judgements based on that. The keynote made the future look exciting, but I hope it isn't the return of Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field. I hope we get a better idea soon of where the performance levels are for Apple Silicon.
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Do you think 16GB in these developers units is a tell or is the extra 8GB needed for development?
Video game console dev kits often have extra memory to allow room for testing alongside the apps using the standard memory usage. So it could be the case here, but I do hope it is a guide to the future minimum.
 

ScottishDuck

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Feb 17, 2010
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Argyll, Scotland
The intel developer kits during the PPC to Intel transition ran pentium 4s back in the day, which never featured in a final product. These are literally only to provide native architecture and nothing else. The silicon in the final products will be different & make full use of the massively larger thermal threshold available to them.
 

mabhatter

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
850
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Do you think 16GB in these developers units is a tell or is the extra 8GB needed for development?
The interesting point would be how the RAM is arranged. The current processors are still using fewer channels to memory than PCs (is it PC speed RAM??) that’s a bottleneck for the kind of heavy lifting we expect PCs to do. I’d guess/hope that there are extra memory channels on the A12Z chip and the RAM is higher partly to use the same chips on more channels.

I’d be curious if iFixit could go back and review the A12Z chip again via X-Ray machine and look for extra layout bits (Memory channels, PCIE lines, etc), now that we know its being used for a PC form factor.
 
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