So I just borrowed an Apple Mac Mini to try out before making the leap of purchasing one.  The machine itself is quite a bit slower than what I’m used to for dev work (2GHz, 2GB of RAM), but I like the Magic Mouse.  It took quite a while to get everything setup and installed (Snow Leapord, XCode for OSX and iPhone/iPad, Photoshop, Lightroom, VIM, calibrating screen, setting up Wacom tablet, etc).  Most of the day, actually.  But now that everything is up and running I’ve had a bit of a chance to poke around a bit.  For the most part, I’m enjoying what I’m seeing.  Compared to the Linux installation I was using earlier today, this is much more polished.  It will take a while to get used to having the menu bar at the top of the screen and I’m not sure that I’ll ever like that particular “feature”, but it’s entertaining enough.

As for XCode itself, I’m pretty impressed with it.  It doesn’t feel as fast as QtCreator, but it’s certainly more polished than Eclipse CDT, more performant than Visual Studio and a lot more stable than KDevelop.  XCode feels more like it just gets out of the way of your dev work and lets you do your thing without throwing overly cumbersome UI in your face.  I can’t say the same thing about Interface Builder yet, but I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything other than open it and poke around a bit.

I really like the fact that downloading and installing XCode actually gives you quite a bit more than just XCode.  It has some very nice memory and performance profilers included, Interface Builder and various audio, graphics and instrumenting tools.  I can’t express how happy I am to see an OS manufacturer putting out a comprehensive, quality set of dev tools for free.  This is a breath of fresh air compared to Visual Studio and all of the plugins you need to actually make that a product suitable for pro use.

A lot of this may end up being me just gushing because I have a new toy that’s fairly different than what I’m used to, but if things continue along as well as they have been so far, I’m going to be a happy guy.  I hope that once I sit down and start doing some serious project work, it will live up to the expectations I’ve built up after playing with the stuff for a couple of hours.  Here’s hoping!

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