To the consternation of software developers, Apple has changed its developer programs to substantially increase pricing while immediately reducing benefits for small developers. Formerly, Apple Developer Associates paid $250 per year and signed non-disclosure agreements to receive monthly developer CD-ROMs, pre-release software seeds, and discounts on Apple hardware used for development. Under Apple’s new Select program, these same developers pay $500 per year and cannot purchase discount hardware, although they are entitled to two "technical support incidents" and a $100 coupon from Metrowerks. Apple’s high-end program has increased from $1,500 to $3,500 per year, and includes access to discount hardware, eight support incidents, a $300 Metrowerks coupon, and a pass to Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple has also re-instituted a monthly developer mailing for $200 per year (up from $150), which includes system software, but little else that isn’t available for free via the Internet.
Although a few – very few – programmers argue Apple shouldn’t support developers who can’t handle a $500 yearly fee, history shows that raising the threshold of entry to Macintosh developer programs decreases the amount of software developed. These mid-subscription changes are particularly galling to small developers; they rarely need technical support from Apple, and now must make hardware purchases before the end of April. Further, Metrowerks discount coupons are worthless to programmers using other development environments.