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Joel Paul1,570 Points
Do you need a circuit board in order to develop apps? Or can you do so without one?
Steven Parker218,833 Points
It depends on what you are developing apps for. In most cases, you'll either need to have the target platform itself, or a software simulator for the platform that runs in your computer.
Some development environments include simulators so you can develop and test without having to upload to the actual device. But no matter how complete the IDE is, it's a good idea to do your final testing on the actual device to avoid unpleasant surprises when you publish.