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What should an aspiring iOS app developer buy?


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MacroMan

 
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Hi all,

To put the subject in context, I'm a programmer looking to try my hand at developing apps for iPhone and iPad (both of which I own and love). However I only have a PC and so cannot use Xcode. I understand it is possible to emulate the Mac (to some extent) using Virtualbox or some such piece of kit but I don't want to go down that route.

Since my ancient PC (with which I am quite content since it runs my development environments and favourite games quite happily) would cost so much to upgrade to meet the needs of running two operating systems and process sets at the same time, I figure I may as well own an actual Mac.

What I need is some Apple machine, which can run the latest version of Xcode and whatever version of OSX is prerequisite for this (10.6.3 or later I think), at the lowest possible price / specification. I dont care whether it is a desktop, laptop or space saver.

Basically, I want the cheapest Apple machine I can find to develop for current iOS devices. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Raz0rEdge

 
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You cannot run OS X on a PC in any form, so let's just move on from that..

The cheapest solution to get going is likely going to be a Mac Mini, especially if you're going to keep your PC around. You can reuse the keyboard, mouse and monitor.

While the latest Mac Mini's are quite powerful and will do everything you want, you can even go back a generation or so and pick one from eBay or Craigslist and be fine with that as well..

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"What should an aspiring iOS app developer buy?"
Well I was going to say Coffee and lots of it..

But.. I also agree with Raz0rEdge. Besides, those that do run OSX on a non Apple product will tell you its not a production and updates often do crash or stop the system from booting.

A Mac Mini is a very economical option. I have the 2012 model with the 2.6GHz Ivy Core i7 that boost up to 2.9Ghz under heavy load. Its plenty fast, with 8GB of DRAM and a nice SSD I am able to edit upwards from 40Megabit to 80Megabit (and higher) photographic files in Photoshop and Lightroom with ease.


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MacroMan

 
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Thank you both for your replies. I have seen several Mac Minis from around 2009 with the Core 2 Duo, 2 - 3 GB RAM and various hard drive / SSD options for around the 150 mark which have been upgraded to Snow Leopard. According to the Apple developer website, any one of these should meet my requirements:

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To develop with the iOS SDK and Xcode, you must have an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or later and you must be registered as an Apple Developer.
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Raz0rEdge

 
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That era of Mac Mini's will work. If you look at the OS X Specs, it states early 2009 or newer for the Mac Mini. I wouldn't suggest going any older than that.

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MacroMan

 
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Good stuff. Thanks again. To be honest I don't think I'd buy an older one even if the requirements allowed it. If programs take more than a few seconds to load I develop a nervous twitch.
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One of the primary reasons to run the newer versions of OS X is that you will need it to access the latest SDKs for Mac OS or iOS. If you can only upgrade to Snow Leopard, for example, you are going to be limited to iOS 6 SDK or so..

If you are the kind of person that wants immediate response, you will find that the 2009 Mac Mini will be OK for a while, but is really in no comparison for the latest i5/i7 based versions which are just powerhouses..

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You could always use non-Apple developed tools such as Flex or PhoneGap, both of which work on Windows. That would save you a lot of money (and would let you develop for multiple platforms at the same time).

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