Faster, better tools for happier teams – why Mac is the top choice for DevOps

Johannesburg, 28 May 2024
Developers choose Mac.
Developers choose Mac.

Apple’s Mac is the device of choice for DevOps professionals, enabling them to work faster and enjoy their work more.

This is according to iStore Business technical experts, who report that South Africa’s growing developer community sees Mac as their preferred tool for development.

Growing developer corps

Developers are in high demand as local and international organisations look to drive innovation and roll out more digital initiatives.

Sudesh Pillay, executive head of iStore Business, says: “International firms see value in South Africa’s developer skills base and are hiring South African developers for their full-stack development capabilities.” According to research by OfferZen, the number of developers based in South Africa and working remotely for international companies has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Pillay says international companies tend to issue Mac devices to their remote workers based in South Africa because of the ease of management and superior build of the devices.

For developers themselves, Mac is becoming a non-negotiable productivity tool.

“We’ve heard of highly skilled developers saying they won’t accept job offers unless they are issued with Mac,” he says. “In a major local cloud development company, eight of every 10 new hires are specifically choosing Mac.

“As competition for our resources increases locally and internationally, Mac and iPhone are now being provisioned as perks to attract and retain key skills,” Pillay says.

Why developers prefer Mac

Lance Van Der Molen, senior solutions architect at iStore Business, says: “Most of what people are developing for is Linux based. What few realise is that Mac is a Unix certified operating system, which is very similar to Linux. This is one reason why the developer community has adopted it – the operating systems are very similar and many tools like server platforms work on both. So, it’s an easy transition from developing on a Mac to production on Linux servers – which run 80% of the internet and most enterprise platforms. It’s a natural progression for developers.”

Matthew Collison, senior technical manager at iStore Business, says Mac is also the device of choice because developers tend to focus their efforts on the more lucrative Apple environment. “Apple has always encouraged development on the platform. The robustness of the developer channel, and Apple’s big security focus, mean developers tend to develop apps for iOS first, and later develop for Android and other platforms,” he says. Naturally, Mac is their choice of device to do so.

“In addition, virtualisation capability is well supported on Apple,” Collison says.

Describing Apple Silicon’s ability to natively support virtualisation as a ‘game changer’ in the past four years, they note it is possible to spin up a virtual machine on a Mac without a virtualisation software environment.

Van Der Molen says: “There’s been a major shift to the Mac platform for development, driven in part by the stability of the platform. Because Apple develops the hardware, software and chips, developers don’t have to worry about issues like whether their systems will slow down if there are updates. With the Mac environment, everything just works – faster.”

He adds that there is also widespread speculation that an announcement will be made at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June about AI features for developers that take advantage of Apple’s neural engine, or neural processing unit.

Superior machines for improved productivity

The ecosystem and software are just part of the value proposition, however. The performance, build and reliability of Mac devices are also crucial in making them the preferred devices for developers.

Van Der Molen says: “Developers are very specific and a little pedantic about the devices they work on. Developers are rewarded on output, so reliability, battery life and performance are important. The build quality of Mac devices is great, so they don’t break down or cause issues. From a usage and CPU usage point of view, developer devices are put under strain, but Apple Silicon and device design help keep temperatures fairly low and performance stable, so developers can benchmark their code performance.”

Mac also delivers longer battery life, while its best-in-class keyboard and trackpad offer a comfortable experience for people who code and type regularly, he says.

Van Der Molen adds: “Another big plus is the interoperability of Apple devices. You can easily hand off between devices or use your iPad as an additional screen – it allows you to structure workflows the way you like them.”

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