What device for development should I buy in the current situation?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ruvi, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Ruvi macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2016
    I have a little problem and I hope that I find here some apple users who can help me to make the right decision.

    I am a Iphone, Ipad and Apple TV user and I wanted to start developing for these devices mainly for Iphone, Ipad and Desktop.

    My first choice would be a MacBook and I was undecided if I should choose a 13 or 15inch MacBook.

    Of course I was aware that the Macbooks are all pretty much outdated and I really expected new hardware at the WWDC.

    So Yesterday was really a shock for me and I have really no clue what to do.

    My choices are all crap I can't see at the moment a good one.
    1. I can pay much money for a current 13/15 macbook pro but that feels like burning money far worse would be if really a major macbook redesign happens (?September?) and they introduce really a touchbar because that would mean that I need to buy the next generation also to have "feature up to date" system for developing/testing my apps.

    I could than try to sell my "old" MacBook but I really don't think that the current generation will be much worth if a major redesign happens and I assume the market will be flooded with old hardware because everyone is waiting.

    2. An old refurbished one is sadly not a real option because in the german apple store I only get the german keyboard and the discounts are not really worth it. (in the german store)

    3. I can go with an IMac 21,5 or 27 (the current generation is not so much outdated) but an IMac and later a 15 inch MacBook looks really duplicated.

    As I said I don't really know what would be a good decision I search for a cheap system where I can !painlessly! develop apps and wait for the next MacBook Pro or a system which makes sense in combination with a later macbook pro purchase.

    I hope someone has an idea, because waiting for September is not an option and who knows how long the delivery time will be.

  2. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I am in the same position. I need a new machine since I just got rid of my 2011 MBP 13 and need to get something so I can develop while on vacation.

    I need portability, so a desktop only device is not an option.

    I wanted to get a rMBP 13, but given the state of the current models (8 GB of memory, 16GB + 512 GB of storage gets extremely expensive) I am leaning toward the 15 rMBP (16 GB of memory standard, 256GB standard, 512GB and dgpu for $500 more). Sure it is bigger, expensive, and heavier (but still less than my 2011 cMBP 13). But more screen real estate is a plus when you have IDEs with a lot of sub windows, emulator, debugging windows, etc all up at the same time.

    In my office I will plug it into a couple of 24 or 27 inch monitors or a 43 inch ultrawide, so I will have all the screen space I need.
  3. Videomanmac Suspended


    Apr 3, 2015
    15" Pro with dGPU.

    Not a bad Mac by any means. Waiting for some super sale by Best Buy or B&H to buy it. Don't pay full price for it.
  4. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    Purchase a decent used Mac, then wait on the release of the 2016 MBP, this is the best option right now.

  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I wouldn't worry about that. Even assuming that (a) the touchbar is a real thing (we've had fuzzy pictures of one leaked case which, frankly, could be any modern laptop) and (b) apple open it to 3rd party apps, its going to be a while before "touchbar support" is a deal-breaker for you. It's possible (who knows) that Apple will release a new external keyboard with a touchbar for iMac/Mini/Pro users. Or they might stick a touchbar simulator in XCode (that would be a sensible thing to do).

    If not, you're bound to find someone out there who will test it for you. You're never going to be able to test on every permutation of hardware and OS so you'll be reliant on beta testers anyway.

    Bear in mind, the current rMBPs aren't rubbish - they're just not tempting those of us who already have perfectly serviceable Macs bought in the last 1-6 years to open our wallets, so you'll get a somewhat jaded view from this site.

    The 27" iMac is probably the safer bet at the moment - it was updated with a Skylake chip late last year, and that 5k display will be great for coding. The only thing there in danger of obsolescence is the lack of USB-C/TB3 (true of all current Macs). Later on, adding a MacBook for mobile use isn't too silly (but maybe a 13" for portability).

    The other possibility is to get a second-hand/refurb Mac Mini & economy display to get started - that's the lowest outlay and when you get a new MacBook later on you can always find a role for a Mini as a file/media/backup server or a test machine. Disadvantage of a Mini is that you can't test software in "retina" mode unless you shell for a 4k display.
  6. treekram macrumors 65816

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    There's no mention of what MacBook you currently have or if you've tried Xcode on it or not. I think the first step would be to try Xcode on your current computer and from that you can get an idea of how much computing power you would need. For the typical person who has done computer programming before but not OSX/iOS/tvOS/etc. development, it will take some time to get your head around it. By that time, the Mac hardware situation will have hopefully cleared up. What I find is that Xcode has become less responsive over time on my development computer - a 2012 quad Mac Mini. (I recently had to work on an earlier version of Xcode (5.X) on my 2012 MBP, and it seemed more responsive than Xcode 7.3.1 on my Mini.) It does more code checking than I think it did before (there may be options to control that). So, (using default settings) if you start to comment something out, it tries to see immediately what the implications are (in the entire project?) versus waiting to see if the comment block is going to be completed and then doing code checking. Xcode 7.3.1 is not bad on the 2012 Mini but I've mainly been doing maintenance work versus large blocks of new code.
  7. Ruvi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2016
    I am a C++ developer and so far I never had a Mac before.
    I thought Xcode is only running reasonable on macOs?
  8. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    You are correct. You can do thinks like a Hackintosh, but to me they are more trouble then they are worth.
  9. treekram macrumors 65816

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    I got confused - by your "old" Macbook, you were referring to a Macbook you would buy and then possibly sell sometime in the near future.

    If you want to start developing now, the current MBP is not bad. There are many developers who do good, productive work using the current MBP's. Once the new MBP's come out, there will still be many developers using the current MBP's. As for the touchbar, I would think that if that comes out, Apple will likely introduce an external keyboard with a touchbar and you'd be able to use that for development (less than ideal, but workable). It's hard to believe that Apple would introduce the touchbar but not have an option for iMac, Mini and Pro users. (But then again, Apple has been doing some hard-to-believe things recently.)
  10. jerryk, Jun 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Developers don't need a stinky touchbar. Heck, except for when I am in Xcode (why do you make use the mouse for events APPLE! ), most of the time I never use the mouse. It slows you down.
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    If you need one now buy one now, any Apple laptop will be fine for iOS and tvOS development and if you want it to run well on OS X then you may be better off developing on an older machine as sales will depend on it working well on older products.

    If you want something new and up to date for your money then why not a retina MacBook 2016 model if it'll run well on that it will run well on all macs for the last 5 years.

    Having a computer that you can work on for 3-4 months and make money with surely outweighs any benefit you may get from waiting for something newer that will make no difference to your work.
  12. R0gerBlack macrumors newbie


    Jun 16, 2016
    By experience I tell you NOT to buy anything that features a 5400 rpm HDD.... So if you are going to take iMac, make sure it's fully SSDed. For the rest I got a 2014 second-handed MacBook Pro Retina 13'' and it's really awesome, 256 gb SSD (keep in mind that 256 gb ssd is also twice as fast as a 128 one), 16 gb of ram and the best i5 that could be featured in 2014 macbooks.... Also avoid absolutely the Macbook Retina (the non-Pro one) because sucks and is not for professional purposes
  13. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
  14. Ruvi, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016

    Ruvi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2016
    Problem is I am from Germany and want en-us keyboard layout which is nearly impossible to get from any cheap site in the eu.

    Which means I have to buy from Apple for 2999 Euro = 3367 Dollar for an outdated system. That not only would make me cry but also feel physical pain everytime I look at it.

    Worse than that I learned today that the IMac 5k doesn't support Target display mode which is really bad if I get a MacBook Pro 15 in the future.

    I think it will take some days until I can make a decision and I think I will have a look into the Hackintosh thing.
  15. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I ebay an option?

    In this thread people were get some very good prices on new or lightly used rMBP 15 with Applecare.

    Of course the usual eBay precautions apply.

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