Friday, March 17, 2006

Intel Macs: Developer Dream Machines

Now that Windows XP Boots on Intel Macs and Red Hat is going to get their distro running on Intel Macs it is pretty clear that if you develop for Windows, Mac, or Linux and want to test at native speed competative applications or you develop on multiple platforms, then an Intel Mac is going to be a very enticing option, particularly laptops as roving development labs. MacBooks, the iBook replacement, are surely coming out in just a few weeks time and should over good performance in the $1000-$2000 range. But these is also another option. If you intend on doing any OS X development, you could become an Apple Developer Connection (ADC) Select Member for $500. Click on the link to see all the benefits, but the one thing it give you is a deep discount on one new hardware purchase with your membership. Through the Apple Hardware Purchase Program, you can get the 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro starting at $1599 or the 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro starting at $1999, a discount of $400 and $500 respectively. That's right, if you were going to buy a MacBook Pro, you can get the Select membership and the hardware for the same cost. For me, the additional benefit of the Select membership even if you weren't developing OS X apps is the access to Pre-Release Software. With OS X 10.5 sure to hit public beta this year, you get access to this OS before everyone else. If you are developing for OS X, you also get 2 technical support incidents from Apple with the year membership. If you are going to develop for any OS, why wouldn't you buy a Mac if you wanted to keep your options open with OS support? And if you are going to buy a MacBook Pro, you might as well do it through the ADC Select program and get yourself early access to Leopard. Update: If you are looking for consumer level hardware (iMac, iBook/upcoming MacBook) then the discounts are significantly less. You can check out the prices yourself on the ADC Hardware Purchase Program Store, but here are some example:
  1. iMac Dual Core 17" - Retail starts $1299 - ADC $1170 - $129 difference
  2. iMac Dual Core 20" - Retail starts $1699 - ADC $1529 - $170 difference
You can also get an ADC discount on anything in the ADC store, iPods included, when you buy all the stuff together with your computer purchase. So the more you spend, the more you save. Another benefit to take into account with the Select membership is that you get the final version of the next OS X on DVD. I would imagine you have to be a Select member when the final version of Leopard is released for this to be true, so timing is a factor. I would think that somewhere around the WWDC would be a good time, surely 10.5 is going to be released < 1 year after WWDC.