Laptop for iPhone dev work - Macbook pro vs Air

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by timmciglobal, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. timmciglobal macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2008

    I know this is the programming forum but this is more specific to iOS development.

    Looking into learning to develop on iPhone since I'm jobless at the moment and want to learn a new skill instead of going one job to next.

    I was thinking of learning iPhone development but obviously needing a mac I'm considering 3.

    11" Air (128GB) 13" Air or 13" Pro.

    I've got a 24" display port capable monitor and bluetooth keyboard so I'm thinking it'll be hooked up to this for the most part.

    What do you think of the versions? I've read in benchmarks the 11" airs about 10>15% slower then the 13" version and due to SSD vs HD it's hard to compare 13 air vs pro.

    What would you buy and why?

    All feedback or "Don't do it's" appreciated as long as they come with a why.

  2. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    I think the 11" maxed out is good enough from speed point of view.
    Got mine in last December and quite happy with Xcode on it. Of course my iMac is faster but MBA is enough for that. Specially if you start development you have other "problem" to solve first like learning how to use all those tools.

    But in you personal situation your could also consider a Mac Mini; as you have a display already it would safe you some money.
  3. Yumunum macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    If you have an external monitor you'd use... it's all about the power of the machine. Therefore, I'd recommend the Pro.

    But if you were like me (without an external monitor), I'd (I DID) get a MacBook Air 13", because of the higher screen resolution.
  4. timmciglobal thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2008
    I decided to order 11" air.

    The more I thought about it it's a good combo of portability if I want it and replacing my iPad which i'm selling to fund the air purchase.

    Still have my iPhone for testing.

  5. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Good choice; just make sure to have 4GB main memory from start; you can't upgrade later ... Just in case
  6. dantastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2011
    I'm going to throw a spanner in the works here.

    Currently running Lion and xcode 4.1 and a few other tools that you will inevitably have running while developing. 4GB of ram is not going to be enough.
    People may disagree with me here but just open that activity monitor half way into your working day and tell me that the system is not running like a dog because you've no free memory.

    The air has the advantage of being able to swap a bit quicker due to the ssd disk but still, if you're buying new and going to set yourself up for a few years do not position yourself on the entry side of the scale with no option of upgrading.

    Therefore, get the pro and ou will at least have the option to go to 8GB RAM.
  7. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Running XCode, my Windows VM, Chrome, Mail, iTunes and tons of other smaller apps, I still have over 1GB of memory free of the 4GB on my MBA.

    OP : Any old Intel Mac will do for iOS development. There is no need of "speed" or "power". Just get whatever you want, it works fine.

    Most people suggesting the Pro only have a "spec" fetish. Writing software for iOS is not a resource intensive task.
  8. jnoxx macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2010
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    For Xcode 4.x you do.
    I have an 2.6K euro Macbook Pro, 4K ram, 7200 RPM Disc, I7 2.66 ghz proc.
    And with just Xcode/Adium/twitter/Mail, i run out of memory in couple hours in Xcode. (happens faster when i'm using the build in IB).
    I think it's really crappy, since I haven't had it in Xcode 3.x :/
  9. (marc) macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2010
    the woods
    Good point. Until recently, I had only 2GB of RAM, which made using Xcode very painful.
  10. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    I use a 2011 MBP 17" and 2011 MBA 11" for iOS dev. Both machines smoke compared to my 2008 MBP 15" in terms of compile speed.

    The MBA 11" is surprisingly good to code on and it's mobility is utterly amazing. The whole machine is the most fun computer I've ever owned.

    The MBP 17" gets less use but the extra screen size is great for Adobe CS5 work.

    As a single standalone machine, I'd probably get the 2011 MBA 13" unless you really want the much better mobility offered by the 11" size.
  11. keisi macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2011
    Go with the air

    I faced this choice a couple of weeks ago - I ended up going with the 13" Air Maxed out. The reason that I choose to go with the 13" vs 11" was due to my frequent travels and the extra 2" was a real plus when working with Nib files for me.

    I have noticed that after a days use it does "bog" down somewhat but that is really only when I am doing opengl work - all of my other UIKit/AppKit strong applications have worked perfectly and everything runs great with Xcode constantly open as well as Mail/Safari/Reeder.

    (I was debating about the 15" Pro, but I had the previous gen 11" Air - and I couldn't resist it this time around also)

Share This Page