Which Apple machine for Development

I’m 50 today and I want to offer me a nice development environment on Mac.

Which Apple machine do you recommend for a confortable Developpement environment. Today I work on a small MacBook Pro. I hesitate between iMac and Mac mini but and I don’t really know what’s the best in terms of processors, memory and screen.

I need to work on Xojo, Xcode, Android, Window and Linux…

Can you send me some tips, pro&cons ? What’s your own environment today ?


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Happy Birthday.

I would recommend waiting, there is an upcoming Spring Apple event, in which Apple may announce new Macs.

I would recommend a 16" MacBook Pro as that has a bigger screen when mobile and can be connected to multiple displays when at your desk. It also has 4 ports as opposed to 2 on the MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro.

If you’re considering Windows development, the current generation 16" MacBook Pro also uses an Intel processor, so it can be used for testing 64-Bit Intel apps.

I would buy a 16" MacBook Pro second hand, as it is the best portable MBP to date, has a real Intel processor, supports Parallels and all the Windows/Linux/macOS variations for testing you need. It has a large screen, but is not too large for transportation, but plugs into large 4/5K monitors at your desk.

I hope for your sake, many people will be selling them relatively cheaply, to upgrade to the new M1 MBPs.

[I knew I shouldn’t get that cup of tea before hitting Submit!]

Good tip, check out the refurbs, when I purchased a 16" for the second time, I bought a refurb and saved myself nearly a grand.

Similar, but if you don’t need to lug it around, an intel based Mac Mini and a big screen is a great development tool as it gives you easy access to OSX, Windows and Linux.
Eventually you may want an M1 device, but to keep costs down and productivity up, thats the way to go.
I use an intel Macbook Pro 2015 which you would have to prise from my cold dead fingers until Apple come back with a device that has common ports and working keyboards… :wink:


I bought a new top spec MacBook Pro last year and I would recommend that to anyone.
Get the latest Intel ones for Xojo development while they are available, so you can use VMWare to run Windows and Linux on the same machine.
Great for cross platform development.

I bought an i9 16" MBP last spring and absolutely love it - it’s a beast and I can easily work with 6k video in DaVinci Resolve on it. As a development machine, it compiles significantly faster than the older i7 iMac I use at work, even though their clock speeds are similar.

It was worth spending the extra money to max out RAM, get the best GPU setup I could, and upgrade the system drive. All total it was about $3000, and it was a refurb from Apple’s site. I highly recommend buying refurbs if you’re buying macs. They’re tested by apple before being sold, and have the same warranty as new. Honestly, I think most of them are returns due to buyers remorse. All our macs at work for the last 5-6 years have been refurbs and they’ve all been fine.

I expect to be using this laptop for the next 6-7 years, like the last one I had.

I would get an M1 (or later MX(y)) system and it certainly doesn’t hurt to wait another day to see what new hardware may spring from the “event” tomorrow. I’m using an M1 13" laptop, 512/1TB, to do the following:

  • Xojo development (natively test M1 and can also test Intel under emulation, but limited to Big Sur and later of course). Helpful to keep older Intel Macs around that are running mix(es) of older versions of MacOS for that reason.

  • Windows testing and development. So far, Parallels 16.5 and Windows ARM insider release look and feel pretty much as fast as running Windows 10 Intel on a 2016 Intel laptop in the same configuration. Windows Intel applications seem to be emulated nicely and without issues in this configuration and for what I’ve tested, it “just works”. I can run Xojo on the Apple side of the M1; bring up Windows ARM in Parallels; run the debugger stub there; and remotely debug Windows builds of Xojo applications that way. Haven’t yet installed Visual Studio and other tools there. Microsoft’s docs at Visual Studio on ARM powered devices - Visual Studio | Microsoft Docs say they don’t recommend it under Intel emulation on ARM for performance reasons, but they’re also talking about their own hardware; it might be just fine for at least my purposes on the M1 platform.

  • Android Studio works just fine.

  • Linux support on M1 seems like it’s coming soon: Official support for Linux on the M1 Macs could come as soon as June - 9to5Mac

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I wanted to be able to develop on M1. Laptops have screens much too small for me.

So I got the Mac Mini, with a 28" ASUS VP28UQGL screen.

I get the same comfort and Retina screen as my previous 27" iMac, with the M1 processor.

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Last minute: Apparently, new iMacs are on the way. If you are not in a hurry, that could be an option.

I got the Samsung LU28R55 to go with my M1 MacMini. I was trying to use my iMac 2017 as the monitor for the Mac mini without success. I set the display to the highest and it has been amazing…

what do you all think of of the colourful new iMac?? see like the standard config has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD only

I really like the design - amazingly thin. I will wait for the M1X or M2 chip.

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Well, you could use external monitor with a M1 laptop as well. But I too opted for the mini and will wait for the 16" MBP before replacing my MBP.

But I went for a 40" 4k TV as monitor – just over $200 last Black Friday and it is incredible what you do with the real estate when 4k is your working resolution not just the retina resolution. I actually switched to it prior to my M1 mini, because one of my dual 27" monitors died and getting the 40" 4k was about the same price as replacing my broken 27".

I’d used dual monitors since Win 95B and thought I would never give that up. But turns out what I really liked was the screen real estate, and having it all on a single monitor is better yet. I use hot keys to resize/move windows around (via Better Touch Tool) and mostly treat as if two side by side monitors with zero bezel. Until I want to take more screen for a large spreadsheet or more Xojo workspace or whatever. Amazingly flexible.

what connector to use to connect the m1 MacBook to the monitor???

what is the resolution for a 40" 4K TV??

You can use USB-C to HDMI cables (or USB-C to HDMI dongle plus regular HDMI cable) or a USB-C dock which has HDMI or USB-C port(s) to use with monitor.

I use with 2018 MBP the same way, or direct HDMI from my M1 mini. Just run to two different HDMI inputs on the TV.

4k :slight_smile:

Which is 3840 x 2160 – so each quadrant of screen could by a 1920x1080 section which is kinda like 4 displays at once. (And I have hot keys to resize to each quarter.) But more often treat as two 1920 x 2160 tall monitors. Or various other splits depending on what I am doing at the time.

what kind of hub would you get for your m1 mac book pro??? I want to get one but can’t decide to get those with a cable one or the one that does not have a cable and connect to both USB-C

well my MBP is Intel – and M1 mini has enough ports I have not added dock yet. But I tend to like the various docs from macsales (aka OWC) who has newer doc models than what I own

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