Autocad for Mac availlable for download + purchase!
The time is finally upon us, Oct 15th 2010 will be remembered as a momentous day for Apple, Autodesk, the Mac community and all CAD users around the world. To all CADmonkeys clinging to your Windows machines, as your only excuse for not switching to the Mac has been “no native Autocad on the Mac”, get ready to gracefully take the plunge and join the Mac CAD force; it’s been a long time since Autocad has been available for the Mac, as the application had turned its back on the Mac in the ‘90s, however two days ago Autocad for Mac became available for trial download, full purchase, as well as completely free for students and educators and is spreading like wildfilre!
image source : Apple
As mentioned in my previous post, Autocad for Mac “has the heart of AutoCAD and the soul of the Mac.”, says Autodesk. It looks and feels like a native 64-bit Mac OSX application, and so it is (running only on Leopard 10.5.8 or Snow Leopard 10.6.4 or later), built on an Apple Cocoa foundation, with a two-toned UI : a dark or light interface (i personally like the sexy dark one)
I just started using it today, and I must say I am very impressed with the very Mac-ish intuitive interface, as well as the general workflow which evidently takes very much advantage of OSX features, like Multi-Touch gestures (which I am l-o-v-ing) for Panning + Zooming with the Mac trackpad, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, as well as Cover Flow and Quick look for browsing drawing files. Autodesk has been able to go back to basics and re-write the UI from the ground up to make a smoother and faster workflow. Interestingly the Ribbon Bar included in the latest versions of AutoCAD for Windows is not supported on the Mac version, but instead we get simple sleek toolbars and properties palettes, very common Mac UI design. This is quite a safe move, as when Autodesk brought the Ribbon Bar to Revit, the users were not so happy. This does not mean that in following versions we may not see it, but it’s a good introduction for Mac users to start nice and simple.
Saving and editing files in the native DWG format is quite a breeze, as well opening Mac DWG files on my windows machine and vice versa is quite a seamless experience. This is due to the DWG file engine in AutoCAD for Mac being apparently identical, and thus making the file format bi-directionally very powerful. This is a definite win for mix platform offices, as well as for easy collaboration with suppliers and partners no matter if they use PC or Mac. For some further very interesting tech-notes on Autocad for Mac visit the Architosh blog.
On his Autodesk blog “Between the Lines”, Shaan Hurley has been very kind to make a quick but comprehensive introductory image to the Mac Autocad user interface. For Autocad veterans, there are enough similarities to make the transition very smooth :
Autocad for Mac UI | image source : Between the Lines
Autodesk has even created a few quick introductory videos to get kickstart our Autocad for Mac education :
Well, I’m gonna go have a bit more fun with the app, so I’ll be posting any new and interesting stuff found along the way, as there’s lots to explore; but for now Autocad for Mac is available for purchase in English in North America and Europe from leading resellers, online retailers and Autodesk.com. It’s not cheap, normally $3,995 US, though Mac Mall is apparently offering $500 off that price, with upgrades from previous versions of AutoCAD on other platforms at $1,995.
Before I forget, also something worth checking out is Apple’s Business Case Study on Styles&Wood using Autocad for Mac, a very interesting read.
So, get your 30 day full trial download from http://www.autodesk.com/autocadformac.
Students and educators can get a free version at http://www.autodesk.com/mac4students.