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Big Developer News: Mac Dev Program reduced to $99


After a many-hours outage, the Apple developer site is back -- and the changes are profound, at least on the Mac end of things.

On the iPhone side, users are required to update their profiles, take a rather obnoxious survey and agree to new terms [Developer credentials required for link]. Unfortunately, Apple needs to improve the default survey formatting. iPhone developer John Fricker points out, "If you go to My Profile you can take the iPhone developer 'survey' with better formatting."

But it's on the Mac side where the big news is. Apple has replaced the select and premiere memberships with a single-tiered, low-priced Mac Developer program. They write: We recently introduced a new Mac Developer Program that replaces ADC Premier, Select, and Student Memberships. If you are a current ADC member, you can continue to access your resources and benefits through the end of your membership year.

Enrollment benefits include Mac OS X pre-release software, access to development videos, access to the developer forums, and code-level technical support. The new Mac Dev Program includes two tech support incidents per year, with additional tech incidents purchasable on demand -- the same as with the iPhone Dev Program.

As I'm enrolled in the Mac program myself, I can report that the updated Mac Dev Center knocks the old site out of the water. Very clean, very much like the iPhone site, and a very welcome refresh to the normal material. It's as if the site itself made a Carbon-to-Cocoa jump, if you get what I mean. It's all much better designed, much more easily navigable, and a positive change from the developer point of view. The site remains active as I write, but I doubt it will be for much longer.

This newly restructured Mac Developer Program itself has been updated to match the iPhone dev program in terms of pricing and features. Formerly starting at $499/year, the new program is attractively priced at just $99 now. Missing are the high ticket items: notably Mac hardware discounts, WWDC tickets for premiere members, and the compatibility labs. It's unclear what will happen to each of these benefits, although the first two are likely dead in the water.

The Mac hardware discounts continue only to the end of the current select/premiere discontinuance. Members who join from today, forward, will not likely be able to take advantage of that former Select and Premiere benefit. The hardware purchase page itself refers to "Each ADC Premier, Select, or Student Membership lets you purchase, at a discount, a limited number of Apple systems to use for development and testing." Early anticipation of this move by Apple has hinted that the hardware discount program might be one of the first items to get axed.

It's also unclear about the future of the compatibility labs. In the past, ADC Premier and Select Members could schedule time at the ADC Compatibility Labs (located in Cupertino, Beijing, and Tokyo) with its 500+ Mac configurations. We may have seen the last of those labs or they may continued as paid features, similar to tech support incidents.

The developer forums remain down at this time. They are likely to get their own reorganization due to the Mac dev program changes and will likely switch to a structure similar to the iPhone forums. Those features include an open section for free online membership and a closed beta-only section behind an NDA firewall. Both iPhone and Mac participants need to agree to an updated forum agreement at this time.

Thanks, Joachim Bean, John Fricker, Greg Hartstein

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