Macbook Pro or iMac for programming?

Macbook pro with Apple cinema display or iMac for programming? Which is the best setup?

With the new Apple iMac and fresh macbook pro due for release any week now I’ve decided it’s time to upgrade my programming setup. It’s either macbook pro + Apple cinema display or 27″ iMac.

Windows is not allowed because I hobby program for IOS, so it has to be a mac unfortunately. Mac mini is out due to being underpowered and needing to buy a monitor separately, making it similar in price to just getting an iMac. Macbook air is out because the screen only comes in 11 and 13 inches. Too small for the multiple windows required for programming.

Macbook pro costs $1600.
Cinema display $800.
IMac $1800.

$2000 is maximum happy spend, $2500 would feel too much for what i’m getting and at that price It’s worth dropping the mac requirement and getting a very serious power rig on windows.

It’s a tough decision, but for future reference to my future self, here’s a few key decision factors to help me decide:

  • Macbook pro does not have home/end/page up/page down keys on the keyboard.
  • iMac has a glossy screen which means headaches if near a window.
  • 27″ iMac is not portable, so no programming on the beach or balcony or garden. No holiday programming either.

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