While developing mobile apps and maintaining this blog, I've found some excellent tools and resources. This page provides a list of my favorite and most recommended products for learning iOS development, creating apps, creating and managing a blog, making social media easier, and working remotely. I will add to the list as I come across new tools and resources that warrant being recommended.
If you are looking at starting development on a Mac for iOS/tvOS/watchOS, check the bottom of this page for my Entry Level Mac Setup recommendation.
Disclosure: Products on this page are those that I recommend. I will only recommend a product if I have used it myself and am completely happy with the product, or if I am aware of a glowing review from someone I trust and the product is a comparable alternative to one which I use. Some of the products I recommend have affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) should you elect to purchase a product through one of my links. If you do it is much appreciated and I thank you for it. Please only purchase a product that you feel will help you.
iOS Development - Big Nerd Ranch Guide
Now in its 6th edition, this is the #1 go-to book for learning iOS development. It is the perfect balance between learning the language, frameworks, techniques, and building apps.
This recommendation is first because this is an iOS development blog, and an earlier edition of this book is exactly how I got my start in iOS development.
Starting a blog is one of the best strategies for your career, and to demonstrate your skills and expertise. It is also one of the best ways for you to learn, because you must understand a topic well in order to explain it clearly. Starting a professional looking blog may seem complicated and time consuming, but with the two tools below, you can have a beautiful and career changing blog running very quickly.
BLUEHOST - As Low As $3.95/month
Highly recommended for hosting your blog. 1-click WordPress installation is awesome and simple. It is very reliable, and the cost is minimal to host a professional, safe, and fast website. Their product and customer service are top notch.
THRIVE THEMES - Beautiful WordPress Themes
This site runs Rise, from Thrive Themes. Buy one theme, or a membership to gain access to all Thrive Themes, Thrive Leads, Thrive Landing Pages, and Thrive Content Builder. I started out with a free theme, but switching to Thrive has made a world of difference. Highly recommended. Watch all the demos! (Content Builder created this page - worth the membership price alone, and I love using it)
Being on Social Media, and especially Twitter, is important like blogging, but it involves more than just sitting down to send out a few tweets. There are tools to save time and make it easy to find the right followers that are interested in your content. The two below are my favorites and I'll tell you exactly why.
CROWDFIRE - Grow Your Followers
Shows who follows and unfollows you, and who you follow that doesn’t follow you. It has one crucial feature - Copy Followers, that lets you follow the same accounts as any other Twitter user. Free plan for one profile, low cost paid plans for more profiles.
Schedule tweets for optimum times, add images to tweets, and find awesome articles from other sources to tweet to your followers. Free individual plan, and paid plans for more features.
The tools below are the best I've found for doing video tutorials, product demos, and for creating app icons, stunning graphics, and images for apps and websites.
Screen capture software I'm using on my Mac to do video tutorials. ScreenFlow is simply the best Mac product for screen captures. Beautiful product that I highly recommend. Free trial is fully functional.
For Windows, this is the number one screen capture and video editing tool.
Sketch is indispensable for developing mobile apps. I use it for creating app store icons, images for app icons, blog post images, and logos. Put simply, I love Sketch and could not do my work without it.
I use Pixelmator for manipulating images. It is an alternative to PhotoShop but much cheaper. I've used it for taking one photo and making it black and white but with one color remaining, or for adding content to a stock photo. Amazing tool at a completely reasonable price.
Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone
This is a cool looking microphone, and it is the one I am using. I ended up returning two others before finally finding this one, and the sound is excellent.
I'm into office aesthetics, so this works well for achieving the look I want. I've mounted it on a stand with a flex extender, both painted in a chrome color, and this setup on my desk has received some very positive comments.
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone
This is another amazing microphone. When I purchased mine it wasn't in stock, but the reviews are excellent.
I'm quite partial to the look of my Samson (above), but this is a close second and has the silver style look as well. I would buy either of these two if I needed another one.
To run windows on my Mac, I run Parallels. I tried other alternatives first (including free), but my decision to use Parallels was literally within a few minutes of installing it. Slick, fast, and seamless interaction with all hardware. Zero issues in my case.
This is one I'm passionate about, and there are no referral fees for recommending CanStockPhoto. However, the price per photo is way less than any other service. Most of the images on my site are from CanStockPhoto. Usually I look for a free one from Pixabay, then download one from CanStockPhoto if I don't see what I want. Check the usual alternatives out (that cost exponentially more) and I think you'll agree.
Jabra PRO 9450 Wireless Headset
Unlike bluetooth phones with limited range, the Jabra has a range of about 450 feet. With mute included on the headset, it is perfect for anyone working from home. The cost is higher than the old wired headset I used to use while attached to my computer, but I would never go back to that setup. Mobility is key when working from home. Highly recommend the Jabra. You can go throughout your house or outside with it on!
I work from home, and have had the same Aeron Chair since 2001. I've had so many positive comments about this chair from people that visit my home office. The original cost seems high, but amortized over the length of time you’ll have it makes the cost seem minimal. If there is any piece of home office equipment you should splurge on, this is it.
Scrivener (Mac) and Scrivener (Windows)
For writing eBooks, there are many options available. I love Scrivener for many reasons, including these two: 1) Write your content and at compile time, override many settings (such as fonts) without touching content, and 2) Generate all formats from the same raw data, for example ePub, PDF, Kindle, and many more.
Maybe you are new to iOS development, and are wondering what the least expensive way would be to start developing iOS, tvOS, or watchOS apps. If so, check below.
If mobility is not top priority, a Mac Mini is excellent to get started developing apps. They hold their value well, so if you find that you eventually need more, you can sell it for a good price. This is a topic with many opinions and variables. If you have a large budget and need mobility, look at the MacBook Pro Retina.
Mac Like Display - HP Pavilion 25xw
My first Mac was a Mini, and to look as close to an iMac as possible on my desk, I bought the HP Pavilion 25xi display. I read about it on a Mac forum. If you want the Apple style look on your desk, this display is the newer version of the one I have and receives equally awesome reviews. There are also 27 and 23 inch sizes.