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Autocad officially being Macified, but also iPhone + iPad friendly!

autocad on the mac

You may have noticed a couple of weeks ago some news buzzing around. If you can feel a slight chill in the wind don’t be alarmed, it seems only the fiery dungeons of Lucifer have developed some frostiness.

Autodesk has never seemed to be a big fan of the mac platform, though since Apple’s staggering comeback in the recent years, there have been
some echoing whispers in the blogosphere as Mac users have been requesting a native version with ever-growing frequency.

Well those whispers have been officially silenced, as Autodesk have officially sounded the horn that the upcoming 2011 release of it’s star product Autocad
® will be making it’s second debut after nearly two decades on the frikkin Mac, signifying a new level of acceptance and i guess even vindication of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs for his Mac OSX and iOS vision and strategies.

Yauza..., well if you’ve recovered from your hand-to-chest ghasp, get ready for another one. They’ve also announced they will be releasing a version of Autocad for iOS devices like the iPod Touch, iPhone + iPad!!!!!

AUTOCAD on the mac
autocad on iMac

It seems it’s the year of well established business apps are adopting the mac, like Intuit Quicken/QuickBooks brought Quicken Essentials for Mac, and Microsoft is replacing Entourage with Outlook for Mac.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, stated:

“Apple is thrilled that Autodesk is bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac and we think it’s the perfect combination for millions of design and engineering professionals....”

mac autocad screenshot mac autocad screenshot 2
image source : Autodesk

As Autodesk puts it, Autocad for Mac “has the heart of AutoCAD and the soul of the Mac.” It looks and feels like a native 64-bit Mac OS X application, as so it is; but rather than being a clone of the Windows counterpart, the new version will bring the robust 3D free-form design tools and powerful drafting capabilities while using Mac OSX libraries and native UI features, including Cover Flow previews of the drawings, as well as intuitive Pan + Zoom with Multitouch gesture support for the Magic Mouse + Magic Trackpad and of course the Macbook's Trackpad.

It also fully supports
DWG™ cross-compatibility, and as DWG is one of the world’s most widely used design formats, design professionals will be able to accurately read and share files with anyone regardless of platform.
At the moment, there is no AutoCAD LT version for the Mac, and there isn’t any indication that Autodesk is planning to develop one.

autocad on mac 1990

Autocad on a Mac 1990 | image source : Mac Answer Guy

The last time AutoCAD was available on the Mac was in 1992 (R12), though 13 releases later, in May this year, screenshots of a Mac OS X beta, codenamed “Sledgehammer” had been leaked on an Italian Mac forum, confirming speculation that Autodesk was brewing something behind the scenes.

autocad sledgehammer

Autocad for Mac beta “Sledgehammer”

So why Autocad and why now?

The AEC world is swarmed mostly by Windows environments, and it’s quite rare to find a firm that uses Macs exclusively. Although Autodesk has supported the installation of AutoCAD on a Mac using Bootcamp and virtualisation software since Apple first switched to Intel processors in 2006 (which was seen as a gentle step towards mac acceptance), AEC professionals have wanted a bit more.

With nearly 100 million Mac users, Mac adoption has exploded with nearly 10% of all PCs sold around the world in the year’s first quarter, according to Gartner, or more than double its share in about 3 years. That rate of growth far exceeded the overall PC market, so “Autodesk could no longer ignore Mac’s comeback” says Amar Hanspal (Autodesk’s senior VP).

Autodesk estimates that nearly 10 million people use AutoCAD around the globe, and
using the application has been one of the only reasons I still run Windows (even though it’s virtualised) , so its Macification was probably one of the last barriers to allow Macs to make a huge dent in the professional sector.

So why not Revit for mac instead?

As desribed by the Mac Answer Guy the CAD trend at this point it time is obviously BIM, and Autocad is clearly not a complete BIM package, that’s where Revit came in, which Autodesk bought back in 2002 because they realised BIM not basic CAD was the future. So why is Autocad not Revit being Macified? Possibly Autocad is the company’s test project, and Revit could be around the corner. If they did release Revit for mac, they could start competing with other cross-platform apps like Vectorworks or Archicad.

Until then, Autocad
® 2011 for Mac will be available sometime in October this year, though the early-bird preorders have already started since September 1st, and it’ll cost $3,995 (around £2,600), the same price as the PC version, however it’ll be offered free to teachers + students.

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