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I'm an experienced C# developer. I've created a couple Windows Phone apps and a Windows 8 app but have wanted to develop for iOS too. What I'm thinking is adding the following equipment and software to make this possible:

  1. MacBook Air - necessary to compile/deploy to Apple's App Store and for some development tasks, as well as tools like PaintCode
  2. iPad Mini - less expensive and able to do double duty testing for both iPhone and iPad screens (Ideally I'd have the budget for a phone too, but not in the cards)
  3. Xamarin Studio Business Edition - pricier but integrates into Visual Studio, which is my primary dev environment and also home to Win8/WP8 app code

Basically, I'm just looking for a reality check. Is this overkill? Not enough? I know I could save a few hundred getting a Mac Mini, but have other uses for a laptop. Can I get by with the Indie version of Xamarin or am I crippling productivity by constantly switching environments? (As soon as I get the hardware I'll start by testing the free version to help answer that question).

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A (used or refurb) Retina iPod Touch would be a good addition. You want something you will actually carry around and use to better understand the UI paradigms and usage patterns. –  hotpaw2 Jun 9 '13 at 3:21
    
I had thought of that and should have mentioned it as an option. Thanks for bringing it up @hotpaw2. When I first looked at iOS development a few years ago I got a 2nd gen Touch (which I gave to my kids since it's so obsolete). –  Stonetip Jun 10 '13 at 17:30
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Using an iPad mini as a stand-in for testing all different versions of iPads and iPhones is questionable. I would not want to build an app for both platforms without constant testing on both an iPhone and iPad--and then I would want to have at least a quick round of testing on as many different versions of each as I could find as well. Though you could potentially borrow devices for this step.

If purchasing both is a problem, I suggest developing an app exclusively for either iPhone or iPad to start out, then expand to the other later when you can afford to purchase another device.

The power of the laptop is far less important. A slower laptop may be slightly less pleasing to use, but it will work. But if it isn't tested on the devices you want it to run on--well, as my former boss always said:

If it's not tested, it doesn't work.

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I hear you on that. I've used multiple devices with Windows platforms and there's always something. And with mobile actual devices are so critical to UX testing because of everything from accelerometers to Internet connectivity. At this point I have to evaluate whether I'm better off creating the best possible Win8/WP8 experience or stretching too thin. –  Stonetip Jun 7 '13 at 16:25
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