I recall listening to a podcast I really love a few months back and one of the hosts described his late 2011 as unusable. That statement is completely hyperbolic. I’m writing this post on my late 2011 15in MacBook Pro and it runs just fine.
If you’re an Indie dev and looking for a MacBook Pro laptop to get started I’d recommend considering a late 2011 15in MacBook Pro. When you get it add some additional RAM to it and pickup a nice big SSD for it. It’ll server you well, just like mine continues to serve me.