MacBook Air or Mini for simple iOS Development?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iforgotmyoldact, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. iforgotmyoldact macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    I plan on doing some basic iOS development for iPhone and iPad (basic as in not games). I'm not sure what I want to get though, maybe some suggestions?

    MacBook Air (1.6GHz model with 4GB ram, 128GB SSD) Pros:
    • Can take it with me
    • SSD
    • My daughter or wife can play with it when I'm not using it
    • Slower CPU
    • Cannot upgrade memory
    • More $

    Mini (2.5GHz model with 4GB ram) Pros/Cons are the opposite to the Air.

    The part that really complicates it for me is that the machine will not replace any of my current hardware, and I currently just use laptops. So if I get an Air I will just work directly on it, if I get the Mini I will need a reasonable remote desktop solution. Last time I checked (a while ago) there was no good option for this, for example I hate VNC as it doesn't feel like I'm actually using the machine, unlike RDP for a Windows machine.

    If I was willing to put more money into this I would obviously just get a MBP, but given I don't want to put amount into it, what do you recommend? And if the Mini, what remote desktop solution do you recommend?

    Thank you!
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I needed a machine to run the developer preview of ML and while my 2008 Macbook could use an update, I decided to go for a refurb 2010 Mac mini in the Apple refurb store for $469. To me this was a "good deal" despite the fact it is slower than today's mini because it still comes with an optical disk. I put 8 gig of memory in the thing and it runs very well. I wouldn't rule out having it become my "main" machine when ML comes out for real.

    In your situation, I'd consider the mini and an iPad for mobile use. You can't run xcode on the iPad but you can share the mini screen from the iPad which is the next best thing. I prefer an iPad to take to meetings and lectures over any netbook, notebook or even the Macbook Air.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I wouldn't get a macbook air for development. For your money, a mac mini would be more cost efficient. Likewise, I feel like a base macbook air is just overkill, more form than function. If you need something portable, why not buy a used mac off ebay?
  4. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    The thing that would steer me towards the Mini would be screen size. I can imagine having to do a lot more scrolling on the Air.
  5. iforgotmyoldact thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Thank you for the recommendations, but any remote desktop recommendation? I will be using my main laptop as the keyboard/mouse/monitor if I get the Mini and a poor (or no) good remote desktop solution is a deal breaker.
  6. ctyhntr macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    For development work you don't need alot of processing power, just screen real estate for the code and simulator. Either way you will still need an external monitor.

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