Hardware cost, Mac Mini is the least expensive, and it works really well for iOS development. You have two options here. You can use it as the build server, and use another Windows PC/Laptop to run Visual Studio. The only caveat is that you'll need to switch over to the Mac Mini to use the Simulator, or debug on a device. Those hook up on the Mac Side, not the windows side. Alternatively, you can install a Windows VM using VMWare Fusion or Parallels. Running in 'Unity' or 'Coherance' mode give you the illusion that your running your Windows apps (like Visual Studio) on a Mac. So you can use Visual Studio to code and the iOS Simulator to debug your app.
I have a MacBook Pro, and use VMWare Fusion running a Windows 8 VM and develop iOS apps. It work really well for me. If you go the VM route (whether Mac Mini or MacBook Pro), my only advice is don't cheap out on RAM. If you only have 8GB of RAM, and run a Windows 8 VM, then you only can have a max of 4GB for the host OS, and the VM. This work well most of the time, but once you start opening up multiple Visual Studio instances or even SQLServer Developer, things get a little laggy here and there.
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But to answer your question, at a bare minimum, a Mac Mini works fine and is more cost effective. But I prefer a MacBook Pro because my job usually requires me to work outside of the office at times.
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Home » Blog » App Development » Is A MacBook Pro Good Enough For iOS Development? Is A MacBook Pro Good Enough For iOS Development? Written by Reinder de Vries on April 12 2017 in App Development. How fast of a MacBook do you need to comfortably code iOS apps? Is a MacBook Pro from two years ago good enough to learn how to code?Let’s find out! 2015 Best App For Younger Children Winner From the makers of Lumosity, LumiKids is a new kid’s app rooted in developmental science that provides a collection of play-based experiences designed for children two years and above.