The fee to become an Apple Mac developer dropped significantly Thursday to $99. According to Apple the new low cost of membership is in response to the success of the iPhone Developer Program (also $99 per year) and the potential that apps from that platform might crossover to the Mac. Apple had previously sold memberships to the Apple Developer Connection (ADC) Select or Premier programs for $499 and $3,499 respectively.
The newly named Mac Developer Program offers access to Mac OS X prereleases, technical documentation, Xcode 3 and other tools, development videos, member-only developer forums, and two technical code-level support incidents. Additional support incidents can be purchased in bundles of two for $99 or five for $249.
Alternatively, there is still a free version of the Mac Developer Program that gives access to Xcode 3 and other tools, online resources, and bug reporting. This is perfect for students or for people interested in tinkering with Mac development.
Yet, the price drop also entails significant changes. The new developer program no longer includes significant hardware discounts (which helped developers to nearly recoup the entire $499 Select membership fee), 10 support incidents, and WWDC materials that included a WWDC ticket worth about $1,200. Apple's complete FAQ gives full details about the transition and its benefits.
Existing ADC members can keep their current membership and benefits up until their next renewal time. At that point, however, they'll be able to renew only under the new terms.
People who purchased an ADC membership on or after February 1, 2010, can receive a refund, but only if they haven't used one or more of the associated benefits of that program. If that applies to you, we advise you to contact Apple for more information.
What do you think about the possibility of iPhone or iPod Touch apps, especially games, being ported over to the Mac? Let us know in the comments.