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Buying the right mac for begginer Iphone Developer

Discussion in 'iPhone/iPad Programming' started by thankmelater23, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Hi fellas,

    My background: I'm a C++ programmer of two years. Learned it on my own and mostly make video games of 2d and 3d. I learned some objective c and how to program using xcode watching a couple of hours of video on youtube.

    I am now looking to start programming for the iphone, but will need to purchase a macbook.

    I just got a new job doing security where im working graveyard. I sit in a office and look at this as the perfect time to code.

    I'm thinking of buying a Macbook laptop this week. Maybe later if you guys suggest I should save and wait.

    I have about 700 dollars to spend and most laptops(Macbook Pro 17'') are 2008 versions used that I'm trying to purchase off of craigslist(used). The purpose of this laptop is for programming for the iphone and just watching and streaming movies.

    I prefer a 15 inch, but would like you guys suggestion if this version of the macbook pro can get the job done? And im thinking the newer ones is probobly just overkill right???

    Just want you guys input if you think the 2008 Macbook Pro 15" can get the job done. And is the RAM important?

    Please guys any input is appreciated positive and negative just SPEAK!

    Thank You...
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Make sure whatever you buy can run Mountain Lion as the SDK will only be supported on that at some point. Apart from that it's down to personal preferences. I'd say try and get a hi-res 15" for the balance of portability and screen resolution.
  3. macrumors 603


    Does the retina MacBook make it easier to evaluate your retina images for iOS without testing on device? (I'm trying to decide what I want to upgrade to from my original MacBook Air.)
  4. macrumors 603

    The cheapest oldest Mac that can run Mountain Lion would be suitable for iOS development. So make sure that the Macbook in which you are interested has a Mountain Lion suitable GPU.
  5. macrumors regular

    I´m a developer .. The most important thing is screen size .... and the ability to run your targeted iOS Simulator Device in full screen or it will be more than PAIN ! trust me ...

    Screen size, screen size, screen size ..

    and that the Mac can run the latest OS X because usualy the latest OS X are required to be able to build for the latest iOS devices ...

    btw a fast SSD is more important then more RAM IMO when you run Xcode
  6. macrumors 6502a


    I would go with a 13 inch MBP-enough power and quite cheap on eBay. 11 inch is a bit too small for programming and all the MBAs are unupgradeable.
    Does it need to be a MacBook? If you have an old windows PC, replace the tower with a Mac Mini which you can upgrade and get new for the price you have.
    It's also easy to upgrade yourself.
  7. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I don't know. I don't have one (crys)
  8. macrumors 6502a


    I admit I am still very new to the whole programming business and my studies are on pause for the time being while I setup in my new house.

    However, from my (limited) experience, 13" screen seems to be just fine. Why do I see some developers having an extra external screen?

    Do you guys use the screen space for simulator or other parts of code?
  9. macrumors demi-god


    Why not a Mac Mini ? Need to be a MB(P) ?
    The Mini with an external 24" would be a great combo. Specially for the begin.

    Update: sorry, saw too late where you want to work. (Check with you employer if that is ok !). I have a 11" MBA but the simulator is really small; 13" would be min.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Anyway, its a good idea...
  11. macrumors regular

    I think I already answered that question
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Opps you are right and faster; missed that one. Now as you think like a Demi, pay like a Demi ... Become a Demi ... :D [/commercial]
  13. macrumors 6502a


    So just for the simulator then?
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Maybe... :p

    Wait what do you mean by "pay"??????????
  15. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Demi-gods are paid contributors to MacRumors.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    I would like to get paid! :p

    ... wait do I have to pay? Or do you pay me??
  17. macrumors 6502a


    The former. ;)
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Oh ok.... :D
  19. ArtOfWarfare, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    macrumors 603


    I sometimes use a separate screen for research. This is more for Android development, though, where the simulator takes a half hour to start up. For iOS development, there isn't too much downtime with a simulator starting up on one screen and research happening on another... although I guess it is still nice to have code on one screen and reference materials on the other.

    Edit: As evil as I've already been just mentioning Android development, are there any ways to snap windows to half screen like Windows 7 in OS X? I'd often like to snap Xcode to be alongside Safari, for example.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Well, I do have a spare screen at home - once I have setup my development / studying area, I will test it out with a screen and see if there is any real advantages. :cool:
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

    I have an early 2008 15" MBP. Prior to Lion (OS 10.8) it ran quite well.

    Lion is a dog. A big, fat, semi-comatose dog. It brings my machine to it's knees. It slows EVERYTHING down. There are lots of pregnant pauses now where 10.6 (Snow Leopard) was snappy.

    Unfortunately, as a developer, you're stuck with the latest OS, so I had to upgrade. (I personally HATE Lion. I think it's a half-baked, bloated mess with some really bad UI changes.)

    A 2008 MBP will work for development, but "expect delays".

    RAM matters a lot. Put at least 4 GB in it, and ideally 6. (It can't take 8 GB, which is a limitation.)

    An i5 Mac Mini with 8 GB of RAM would be a better choice, or an i7 15" MBP. Of course, the new MBP would cost 4 times as much...

    If you buy new, whatever machine you get, get it with the minimum memory and upgrade yourself. Apple charges several times more (3X, 4X, or more, depending on configuration) for memory, and memory upgrades are trivial to install.
  22. macrumors 65816

    Get a Mac just for programming like a Mac Mini and only do programming on it.

    One thing I plan on doing is buying a separate mac mini for programming. Since I started to program Apple seems to make you update your OSX and your IOS every year to keep working in the latest technology.

    But when I start to do this I then need to upgrade software which is also an extra cost as things stop working. Apple seems to make Major changes annually. I use my Mac Pro and I work and an editor with FCP 7, After Effects and such. New OSX updates can screw that stuff up.

    I don't intend on upgrading to Mountain Lion on my Mac Pro machine. So I recommend a small functional Mac just to code with that you can update to anything that comes out without effecting your normal software you use day to day.
  23. macrumors regular


    Let's hope you're not watching Steve Job's house. oh crap. wait.

    Get a Mac Mini (latest one) if you're serious about programming.
  24. macrumors Pentium


    Apple doesn't make you upgrade. If you don't require any of the new APIs, Apple is happy to accept your apps built on their older SDKs.

    But didn't. Mountain Lion was surprisingly good at keeping compatibility intact. Even Virtual Box managed to be working on day one, which meant I managed to upgrade to 10.8.0 within the week... but...

    It would be cheaper to just buy a firewire drive, install Mountain Lion on that, and boot your Mac Pro/MacBook Pro/Whatever from that than a whole new Mac to do it with. Also that way, you can easily swap data from one OS X to the other as both drives can be read/written to by both versions of the OS.

    This questions comes up often, and the best answer remains : Any Intel Mac. It's really that simple. Xcode and the SDK don't require power houses, neither does the iPhone simulator and your target hardware is both very processor and RAM limited being an embedded system.

    Gage your needs on your other tools and other needs, the programming bit has been covered for years.
  25. macrumors 65816

    To use xcode 4.3 you had to have OSX 10.7.3. I did the upgrade that broke a number of PPC apps that I used and loved that are not updated any more. At that point I realized that it is better off to have separate hardware like a new Mac Mini, or what you recommended of installing a whole different OS and updating that firewire drive would work too.

    The goal is to separate my day to day computer from my programming computer to avoid the next "You have to update to use the new xcode or other thing".

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