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So I'm planning to get into iPhone dev (2D games). I understand that my only real option is to get a Mac. I'll probably go the MonoTouch route.

I'm not sure what hardware to buy; I just want the minimum that'll be "good enough" to develop with. Some posts recommend a Mac Mini, although it seems on the more expensive side; even on the iPhone front, I'm not sure what to look for.

Also, I may skip on the iPhone until I'm ready to launch my first game, since I can get away with the MonoTouch evaluation version. (Albeit that it's probably not the best idea.)

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You can develop games for iPhone using PC too. It depends of the tool set you are using. Say, if you use UDK then Mac is not mandatory. But if you use Unity, then Mac is a must. And as always Mac is way expensive if you compare the configuration list with a pc. But, for some developers its the only options. – iamcreasy Jul 20 '11 at 17:54
@iamcreasy: not true if you want to put test the application on the hardware. You must have a mac for that and be running XCode. – Gregor Brandt Jul 20 '11 at 17:59
@gregor-brandt Well, to put it on the hardware you need to buy the dev account. And there is a easy(legal) way to install your game from UDK to iPhone/iPod, using the key(while registering) the apple provides you. You can google about it. – iamcreasy Jul 20 '11 at 18:03
I mentioned very clearly that I want to use MonoTouch, which necessitates a Mac. – ashes999 Jul 20 '11 at 18:50
I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the Mac Mini is "on the more expensive side." It's the cheapest Mac you can get, although arguably not the best value for your money. I'm not really sure what you're asking. Any Intel Mac will work for iOS development, although you'll need something reasonably recent to be able to properly run the simulator, especially if you're making games. The way you've written this, though, makes me think that you're looking at it like an investment with a potential payoff. If you want to write iOS games for fun, great, but don't expect to cash in. – Mitch Lindgren Jul 20 '11 at 19:23
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think you can go with a pretty old & bare bones system. I'm currently using a 5 year old Mac Mini for iOS development with no issue. Currently running OS X 10.6.8.

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Hard to buy something decent that's used. What should I look for in terms of specs? – ashes999 Jul 20 '11 at 19:19
Intel processor, couple of G of RAM, and some hard disk space. Just get an external drive if you need more storage space for your projects. Also RAM upgrades are pretty cheap - went from 4 to 8G on a Macbook Pro for $90 a while back. – Tim Holt Jul 20 '11 at 22:06
Core 2 Duo if you want to go with Lion. Core Duos or Core Singles will not work. – Gregor Brandt Jul 21 '11 at 13:44

The cheapest mac you can find that is capable of running Lion (somewhat future proof plan) will allow you to develop for iOS for years to come.

Look at the Apple refurb store if its available online in your country.

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Why Lion specifically? – ashes999 Jul 20 '11 at 18:56
XCode 4.2 will probably be Lion only (maybe?) If not, future dev tools will be. – Gregor Brandt Jul 20 '11 at 19:37
Gregor, possibly true but it may be a while. Consider for example that Apple is still allowing developers to download and use XCode 3. ashes999, if this is a short term platform you're looking for, then don't worry about Lion. If it's a long term platform, then it's probably something to consider. See for requirements. – Tim Holt Jul 20 '11 at 22:01
@Tim: true, but I do not think that the iOS 5 libraries will be available for XCode 3. iOS5 beta requires XCode 4 – Gregor Brandt Jul 21 '11 at 13:43

I'm doing more than fine with a mac mini 2.53 GHz, the simulator is a bit slow when the game gets bigger, but I recommend you testing on an IPhone anyway.

I remember reading on some forum that everyone recommended getting 4 GB of ram, because OS X use a lot or resources.

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