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MWSF: Macworld SF 2009 Preview for CAD/3D

Macworld Expo San Francisco – We take a look at this year’s participants serving the Mac CAD/3D and graphics professional market segments.

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This year looks to be possibly the last year Architosh will cover the fabled Mac platform conference and exhibition. Sad to believe but Apple has reported that the company no longer has interest in the show, held annually at the San Francisco Moscone Center. 

Over the years the show has both grown and evolved. Once just a Macintosh show, since the wild success of Apple’s iPod line the convention has become partly centered on the iPod accessories market. Now with the popular iPhone and its attendant software platform, this year Mac software makers will have to share even more show room floor space with a new group of iPhone market developers and providers. 

Resurgence With No Show

It simply doesn’t make sense to see Apple express no future interest in Macworld Expo within the context of Apple’s burgeoning market share growth. This only makes sense if the company wishes to wrestle away control of the show from IDG or if Apple sees the show as not worth attending without a Steve Jobs keynote — of which we will live without this year. 

While many are wondering if Steve Jobs is actually healthy or ill and how that might be affecting Apple’s dramatic announcements concerning this year’s Macworld and the future, a very probable reason is that Apple simply wants to control such future events, possibly creating an iPhone/iPod show specifically for those tied-together markets. Such a division has been expressed as beneficial to Mac software makers who feel the current show does not focus enough on the Mac computer platform. 

Macworld and CAD/3D

Regardless of what is happening now and in the future this year’s Macworld Expo will see a slight drop in interest from CAD and 3D software vendors — despite the actual increase in such developers to the Mac platform. 

While CAD stalwarts like Graphisoft (ArchiCAD) and Nemetschek North America (Vectorworks) will not be at the show, and haven’t been in a few years, there will still be sizable companies in these important vertical markets. However, it should be noted that these companies particularly serve consumer or prosumer segments of the CAD/3D markets. However, there are exceptions. 

Most notably we will see solidThinking, Inc. as the significant big player at this year’s show. solidThinking Inc., is now a subsidiary of Altair Engineering, a significant CAD/CAE company serving the engineering market. And while not in a booth, CAD industry software giant Autodesk, Inc., will be showing their growing Mac 3D software portfolio at a nearby hotel during the conference. It is too bad that company didn’t have a booth. Also missing is Adobe this year, a major disappointment for this year’s Macworld. 

Other attendees in the Mac CAD/3D software category include:

  • IMSI/Design – makers of the venerable TurboCAD product line. The company has several versions of TurboCAD plus two 3D rendering products that work with Google’s SketchUp. (booth #2526)
  • Google / SketchUp – Speaking of the popular modeler, Google will be at Macworld this year in smaller booth we hear showing both SketchUp 7, SketchUp Pro 7, LayOut 2 and Google Earth and 3D Warehouse products and services. (booth #802)
  • BeLight Software – makers of Live Interior 3D. (booth #337)
  • Lemke Software GmbH – makers of CADintosh and Graphic Converter, this is the first time we have seen this German company at MWSF. (booth #3526)
  • Microspot Limited – The venerable Mac CAD company from the United Kingdom will be showing its solid product line spearheaded with MacDraft Pro, MacDraft SE, and Microspot Interiors among others. (booth #2621)
  • Punch Software – this growing company will be showing its ViaCAD and Shark FX product line of consumer and professional Mac 3D CAD software. (booth #3526)
  • Smith Micro will be at Macworld but is unclear to us if the company will be showing its growing line up of old and new 3D software programs such as: Poser, Shade, Amapi and Morpheus Animation Studio. We will be clearly on the look out….(booth #1235)
  • solidThinking – we’ve already discussed above, the sophisticated and powerful CAID program will be showcased in booth #3320. 
Of course we will be looking closely at these following companies as well due to their direct relationship to CAD/3D and graphics professionals:
  • AEC Software – FastTrack Schedule. (booth #1743)
  • Ambrosia Software – Snapz Pro X – a very good screen animation capture utility we use internally at Architosh. (booth #420)
  • Axiotron – makers of the ModBook. (booth #502)
  • EazyDraw – booth #301
  • FileMaker Inc. – booth #1225
  • HP – makers of large format plotters, booth #1502
  • Kerio – makers of Kerio email and groupware server. (booth #1843)
  • LaCie – booth #2332
  • Parallels – makers of Parallel Desktop for Mac, the leading hypervisor virtualization software for the Mac. The product allows the running of key Windows CAD/3D and engineering applications on your Mac. (booth #2138)
  • RapidMind – booth #3534
  • Sassafras Server Inc. – booth #3525
  • VMware, Inc. – makers of Fusion, the other leading hypervisor virtualization software for the Mac. (booth #2202)
  • Wazabee 3D – booth #4119

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