- Should I choose a 13'' Macbook Air or a 13'' Macbook pro?
- I could also buy a 15'' a Macbook pro but is it worth the difference for my needs? I will mostly use it for application development (xcode environment).
- I also have a 21'' wide screen monitor, so I could connect the 13'' to that display.
- I really like that the air is thin and light, plus it has a better resolution screen. But is it good enough for working every day on it?
- Another important fact. Should I wait for a new macbook pro? Is it likely to be on the market before May/June?
- Considering that you'll mainly code on this machine, the full-voltage CPU > ULV CPU (MBP > MBA), though the second biggest difference between the two (storage) mainly depends on how big your files are and if you want a SSD or not.
- Only difference between the 13" and 15" would be in the display. 15" has an option for a higher resolution (1650*1050 vs 1440*900) and a matte display (iirc, the 13" doesn't offer this option). The question of is it worth is largely depends on if you want matte and the resolution of your 21" monitor. Physical size (21") doesn't matter as much as the resolution, especially for coding. You'll want the increased amount of vertical pixels (900 v 1050).
- The full-voltage CPU in the MBP 13" will help compile code much faster than the MBA, but on the flip side the MBA comes standard with a (slow) SSD, which is faster than any 7200RPM HDD. What's more important to you: compile times or read/write speeds + storage space? Both notebooks are very portable, so in that regard the MBA is only marginally lighter and smaller.
- I wouldn't bother with the new ones this spring. The only major difference between SB and IB is in the integrated graphics, which is irrelevant for code development. You also mentioned that your have a gaming rig anyway, so I imagine you'll keep most of your gaming on that (and the Xbox).
- ApplceCare is nothing more than an extension on the basic warranry (1yr to 3yr). It does not cover accidental damage, or anything other than the standard warranty covers. If you live close to an Apple store, you're better off just going there for problems instead of burning ~$300 (or whatever AppleCare costs).
Entry-level 13" should be good enough for your needs.
Future-proofing is a fool's dream; you'll be better off buying for your basic needs today, then buy a newer basic laptop in a few years, etc. Not only is buying an expensive laptop expensive, but your hardware will still be just as outdated as time goes on.
If you feel like you need better performance in the future, just buy another basic MBP 13" (or whatever they have in the future).