FOLLOW THIS QUESTION TO RECEIVE UPDATES
Launch Academy students use Apple computers exclusively. As far as what kind, the majority of our students use MacBook Airs. Ruby files are typically small, so you don't absolutely need a large amount of processing power. Additionally, MacBook Airs are incredibly lightweight, which is nice when using Boston's public transporation system (affectionately known as "The T").
New Apple computers ship with Yosemite, which is fine for incoming students. Students have been known to work on older versions of Mac OSX.
For editors, we recommend students use either Atom or SublimeText. These are highly configurable editors with tons of options for optimizing your experience.
Hope this helps. If you have more questions, hit us up on twitter @LaunchAcademy_
Good luck and happy coding!
Steve, Launch Academy
Most web and mobile app developers develop on Macs these days, so any reasonably modern Mac (2012-2013 or later) would be preferred. A minimum of 4GB RAM is recommended, but 8GB (or even more) may be preferable if you will also be doing some graphic design work.
Since you will be spending lots of time on your computer every day, you may want to try to get a computer with an SSD drive. This will make even a computer with a slow processor feel surprisingly fast, perhaps even by a magnitude of as much as 2x-3x vs. a computer with a traditional hard drive -- especially if you are a programmer and will constantly start up servers, console sessions, etc.
If you don't have a Mac, then a PC with Linux installed is another option. The most popular Linux distribution today is Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu. They both share the same package manager--which is a good thing--as it means that most packages (such as programming languages, frameworks, etc.) you will ever need should be readily available. Also, most of the popular text editors and other software you may need has binaries available for Linux. The same rules for hardware goes here as well - make sure you have enough RAM, as well as a fast hard drive.
Lastly, you may want to avoid getting a computer with a too small screen. 13 inches will probably be on the smaller side; 15 or above is recommended. Also, a retina screen is going to make a world of difference!
Finally - if you don't have the perfect computer yet, don't worry. You can always start out with one machine, and then upgrade later.
Hope this is helpful and happy training!
Lina Maria - Pen and Paper Coding, NYC