I need to purchase a new Mac computer to start developing iOS apps using Xcode and Swift. It's my first time Mac ever so I'm confused. I know its kinda of portability choice between the 2 models but It's not an issue with me as I'm not travelling a lot nor develop outside home. So my main concern would be the possibility of coding as well as option to make me comfortable with coding. (screen size factor, Retina display, ...etc).

Any advice would be much appreciated!

closed as primarily opinion-based by jherran, Tetsujin, user151019, grg, IconDaemon May 23 '15 at 15:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


I find that the flexibility of being able to move around in the house makes it worth getting a laptop. Mobile freedom is really addictive once you get used to it. The only issue is that, for coding, having a ton of screen real-estate is advantageous. Obviously the iMac has the MacBook Pro beat in that regard, but you could get a cheap external display for that purpose. It depends on which setup you'd find yourself most comfortable with. Sometimes, if I'm just writing a Python script with no UI, I can easily do it with one monitor, and so then the mobile freedom offered to me by my laptop is incredibly nice. The other times, I have a cheap external monitor for my UI, and my MacBook Pro's monitor for the code, since it has such a high res display to make all the text crystal clear. The UI monitor doesn't have to be terribly high-res, just large. It works well for me.


Let me suggest you the Macbook Pro and let me explain why.

For me the most important thing developing with xcode is the screen resolution. You usually have two or more xcode panels open, so, more resolution means more space and let you be more agile and productive. Plus, if you use the simulator to test programs, you will want to have it in the same screen.

Said that, the 21" iMac have less screen resolution than the Macbook Pro. So, if I were you I will go for the MacBook Pro.

  • That's true in case he wants to use his MacBook Pro in "Scaled Display" mode, which I don't think is a good choice, because everything will look small and coding/programming is not really delightful in such condition. However, my suggestion for OP would be MacBook Pro, but not for the reason you said :) – Behdad May 23 '15 at 7:12
  • Edit: After viewing the specifications, Even in the scaled mode, 15" MacBook Pro (Retina) has the same resolution as 21.5" iMac. (1920 x 1200) I think you should edit your response :) – Behdad May 23 '15 at 7:23
  • Thanks folks a lot for your suggestion, cant i maximize rhe screen resultion in the iMac in order to see all opened windows giving that screen size is bigger?? Also, the iMac i7 21" benchmarks is like a beast!! :) – Mohamed Hemdan May 23 '15 at 11:25
  • Any thoughts folks?? – Mohamed Hemdan May 24 '15 at 5:24

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