View Full Version : Mac for iOS development?

Matt Meiser
05-09-2012, 11:36 PM
I want to get started on some iOS development at work. In reading, the first thing I'm going to need is a Mac. Can anyone offer any suggestions on what I might look at for a development machine to get started, maybe even something I might look for in the gently used market? This is going to initially be self-directed training evolving into developing an app for a pseudo-product we have.

I'm developing data entry/notification/reporting applications, not games. I'm assuming this means I can get by with a lower powered (read cheaper) machine. I know NOTHING about Macs.

Brian Kent
05-10-2012, 2:32 AM
For that any mac will work fine. I favor the 13" MacBook Pro for work, home, and portability. For your purposes I don't think the following are robust enough: Plastic MacBooks (hinges are a weak point) or MacBook Air. Used is fine, if you max out the memory and possibly change out the hard drive before you start. The desktop iMacs are a great choice if you don't want to use it at Starbucks.

If you get any $100 desk top hard drive, the first time you connect it to the computer it asks you if you want to use this for Time Machine. Yes you do. It not only backs up all of your work as you go, but you can also re-create any file in the state it was at any past date you choose.

Graham Wintersgill
05-10-2012, 7:58 AM

Refurbished Mac Mini from the apple store? http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac from 519 USD with full warranty. There are educational discounts for students available.



Todd Burch
05-10-2012, 8:41 AM
OK, I do some of this, and it's a whole new world from Windows.

It used to be, that with any new Mac you bought, you would get 2 CDs. One was the op system, in case you needed to reinstall, and the other was some tools, one of which was XCode. XCode is what you'll be using as your IDE (integrated development environment). It contains several tools with it, like IB (Interface Builder), which is the WYSIWYG tool you use to build the user interface (if you need that).

Today, they probably require you to download XCode from the Mac App store. It used to be free, probably still is. If you had to buy it, it would probably run > $1200.

You might want a membership to Apple's Developer program. It's free, and with it, you get access to all their doc. You only have to pay a $99/year membership if you want write for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

If you want to really leverage the Mac operating environment, you probably write in Objective C. It's a little different, syntactic-wise, from anything Windows, but it's not that different. If you know C or its close variants, you'll pick it up quick. It does Java too, plus C & C++.

Any Intel Mac will do. An iMac is an all-in-one machine where the guts of the entire computer are behind the LCD in the monitor. A Mac Mini is a small box (real small) and comes with no monitor or keyboard. Then there is the MAcbook (smaller laptop), the Macbook Pro (bigger, fancier, faster) and finally the Mac Pro (tower unit - a very large machine). I have a Mac Pro, 10GB ram, 1.5 TB disk. I bought mine in Dec 2006 and I've probably rebooted it 2 dozen times since.


Ron Natalie
05-10-2012, 8:49 AM
I'm using a MacBook Pro, I had used my old MacBook air, but the 80G drive was cutting it a little thin with all the stuff I needed loaded on it.

Scott Shepherd
05-10-2012, 9:22 AM
It's time for college to wrap up these days, so you'll see a flood of kids selling macbook pro's for dirt cheap to have cash in their pocket before going home for the summer.

You can download X-Code from the app store. It's free. It's an install that doesn't like to be uninstalled, just know that in advance. It takes a lot of hard drive space. I installed it some time ago, found it took up a lot more space than I wanted it to on my laptop, and I tried to delete it. It wasn't having any of that. You can google how to remove it properly. I don't recall the details, but I do recall it not liking to be removed (or uninstalled).

You'll need some knowledge of Objective-C if my memory serves me correct.

Ron Natalie
05-10-2012, 11:16 AM
Pretty much nothing comes on disk anymore. You haven't received CDs with a MAC in years and with Mountain Lion you can't even BUY a CD if you wanted to.
You can download everything you need (xcode, emulator, etc...) from the developer center. Won't cost you anything, though you need to register an AppleID
to do so (and set it up as a developer if you have one already). What costs $99/year is the ability to get access to post your apps to the AppStore (and provision some real iPhones/iPads for testing).

Greg Cuetara
05-12-2012, 10:15 PM
Like Graham said above take a look at the apple store under refurbished macs. They have a lot of really good deals and give you the same warranty and if you are really worried you can buy the applecare plan and that would cover anything and give you phone support for a few years. If you already have a monitor that you can use a mac mini would be the way to go but if you want an all in one machine the imac is much better. I've been using mac's for over 30 years now and have an imac on the desk which is a very slick machine.