"Best Value" Mac to get for iPhone/iPad development

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sorjai, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. sorjai macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2009
    Hey all,

    I'm currently looking to develop apps for the iPhone/iPad, which means I have to finally buy a Mac. I'm not used to buying relatively expensive hardware, so I would like to spend as little as I can. However, if the benefits of paying a bit more are worth it, then I wouldn't mind. But basically I'm torn between buying a mac mini and a macbook. I would like something portable since I may be traveling to client sites to develop, although I suspect I'd be home most of the time developing. It seems like the Mac Mini is the cheapest one to get. Or should I just get a macbook for a little bit more money so I don't have to worry about an extra monitor? Also, is the lowest configuration (with 2gb of ram) enough for development? I'm used to having at least 4gb of ram since I do a lot of multitasking (I may install Windows on there too), but I was wondering if 2gb of ram would be enough.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    There are some $499 minis in the refurb store right now. If you don't happen to get in on that deal (they go fast), keep an eye on the refurb store - your best deals are to be had there.
  3. chill. macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2008
    you'll be wanting an external monitor anyway because it's downright painful using only a 13" screen. hackintosh is best value, then mac mini
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Whats your budget?

    Macbooks are $800 at microcenter right now.

    Instal your own ram later, a 5 year old could do it. $100ish for 4 gigs.
  5. sanPietro98 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    Any Intel Mac is fine. If budget is your biggest factor, then a Mac Mini should be fine.
  6. jazer macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Think about the display - I used to develop with xcode on a 13". This is very bad when it comes to the usage of the dev tools. So I will switch to a 17"MBP because of the screen size.

    My recommendation is minumum a external display 1920x1200 - but any Intel Mac 2GB up will do fine for the start.

    PS: If you develop graphical Apps, you will have think about better performance
  7. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    The macbook with 2 gb ram will be fine. If you also want to run windows, 2 gb is fine for windows xp. For vista or windows 7, 2 gb is okay, but 4 gb is better.
  8. sorjai thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2009
    Thanks for your input guys. Ideally I'd like to spend as little as possible (since I'm already going to blow 500 bucks for an iPad), but I'd be willing to spend a bit more if the benefits are worth it. I know that I will be basically developing on a monitor that has at least a 1920x1200 resolution anyway. I'm just not sure if it's a good idea to have a macbook so at the very least, I have a portable screen to work with if I happen to be coding on the go. But since most of my development will be done at one place with a large monitor at hand, I can always plug the mac in (whether it's a mac mini or a macbook). I see a bunch of developers have issues with the small macbook screen. Do you guys hardly ever use the small screen?

    I'm glad to hear that 2gb should be able to suffice in most cases for development. I just hope that if I ever want to upgrade a mac mini to 4gb of ram, then it'd be easy. Looks like I'm leaning towards the mac mini... thanks!
  9. Max(IT) Suspended


    Dec 8, 2009
    Hackintosh is NOT a Mac, nor entirely legal.
  10. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Illegal, no, but you will be breaking a contract (EULA).

    I've done a few hackintoshes in my time and while they were fun and great learning experiences, you'll find that Mac hardware to be a better value in the long run because you won't need to spend your time chasing down hardware-software oddities.
  11. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    For coding you will definitely want an external monitor, whether you end up with a mini or not. You can make do with the MB screen for short periods of time, but for your day-to-day work you will want a big monitor. Especially with the simulator running.

    You can upgrade the RAM later, as needed. It is easier with the MB, but perfectly possible with the Mini. You may be fine with 2GB, so you might as well start there.

    If you really have a need to work at a client site, then that answers your question right there: you need a notebook. Do you really want to walk in and try to bum a monitor, keyboard and mouse from a client? Unacceptibly unprofessional. Remember, as a tiny developer (I assume you'd be a solo) you're going to have a hard enough time being taken seriously. Don't compound the problem. Believe me, you'll make your $300 back, and more, the first time you negotiate a contract. If you don't really need to do on-site support/visits, I'd save a few $$$ and get the Mini.
  12. sorjai thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2009
    Yeah, I think you guys pretty much made good cases. I ordered my Mac Mini for now since it's the cheapest mac I can buy such that I can start doing some mac development. Has only 2 gigs of ram, but I can always update the ram later on if I need it. It should also keep me busy for a while until they update the Macbook Pro's, which I can get later on after I get some positive flow of income (hopefully soon =D).

    And I have my monitor already, so I'm set with that. I definitely need a min of 24", 1920x1200 resolution. It's just so much more productive with more screen real estate.

    Thanks again for your input guys.

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