13" MacBook Air vs. 15" MacBook Pro - App Development

First time Mac buyer and I've been batting around this decision for quite some time now. I'm looking at getting into application development - definitely iOS, but possibly other development work as well, including general web development.

If I were to get the 15" Pro I would upgrade it to the Hi-Res Antiglare screen, which is the same as the MBA's screen I believe.

I have a large external HD, so the additional size on the Pro is nice, but may not be necessary. That being said it will be my primary personal computer. I like the idea of having a SSD, which is the main reason I'm considering the Air, but I know that could be added later with a Pro and figure they will only get cheaper in the future.

3 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    For IOS development, it will depend on how many apps or how large is your app project to start with, for example for graphic extensive that uses huge sprite library you will be needing a large HDD.

    since IOS development use Iphone/ipod emulator you would need more memory to run decently. The only thing that is good on Air is the integrated SSD, but it will break your bank.

    MBP15" will be a good choice, since you could get the base model, which is 4gb memory and 500gb 5200rpm. and opt for a third party hardware later.

    MBP have gpu-switching capability, Intel(for lower power consumption) to ATI(for gaming and graphic intensive application) which you will need for programming if you venture to different gaming platform, eg. Mac Games.

    Its more cheaper than Macbook Air(Power to Cost Ratio).

    On Air, you could only opt for external HDD and nothing else. you can't upgrade the memory or internal HDD.

    • Answered by Angelo Bryan P from Las Pinas City
    • 1 Feb, 2012
  • I just got the Macbook Air 13" and am in a similar position after using it for a few days.

    Its a great notebook for consuming content from the net or your hard disk but when it comes to development, the screen is too small and its high res 1440x900 screen makes it hard to work with any IDE Microsoft or Apple.

    So I am contemplating the 1680x1050 on the base model MacBook Pro 15" myself. The large real estate should be excellent for the development environment.

    I have some time left to return my MBA so I have been putting it through its paces in XCode as well as Visual Studio. It works great and is no slouch when it comes to speed but the screen size can get tiring on your eyes after a while.

    So if you havent bought it yet, then get the 15" High res Macbook Pro. You can always upgrade the hard disk to an SSD and memory upto 16 GB. With an MBA you are limited to GB RAM and you have to order what you want. Can't upgrade later on.

    • Answered by Ravi R from Ridgeland
    • 21 Dec, 2012
  • The MacBook Pro is better for development because it has better graphics and the processing on the MacBook Pro is much better.

    • Answered by Nicholas S from Manchester
    • 31 Mar, 2013