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Exclusive: AutoCAD’s Fateful Return to the Mac

In this exclusive feature report Autodesk talks to Architosh about their fateful return of AutoCAD to the Apple Mac platform after nearly two decades absence.

Continued from page 4

RM: It’s mental ray.

AFR: Really. That’s very interesting because I think that may the first implementation of mental ray–which is a very highly regarding renderer–on the Mac platform. I can think of only one other developer who might have already brought mental ray to the Mac.

Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about what Autodesk is going to be doing in terms of evangelizing and promoting AutoCAD for the Mac. What are you doing?

02 - The new AutoCAD for Mac features the well-regarded mental ray rendering engine. Stunning renderings, like the one in this image, can be easily created from within AutoCAD for Mac.

RM: At the upcoming AutoCAD University we will be offering classes for both third-party developers and for end users on AutoCAD for the Mac. Some of these classes will be geared for existing Mac CAD customers to help them get accustomed to the new AutoCAD for the Mac. And for existing Windows AutoCAD users we will have a Mac lounge and lab setup for them.

AFR: And besides your current distribution channel how else will one be able to get a copy of the new AutoCAD for Mac?

RM: We are organizing through our VARs and syncing up VARs (value-added resellers) with the Apple Stores. We will be doing this on an “on demand” basis with the Apple Stores.

AFR: Are you providing special training for the Mac version?

RM: Good question. Yes, we will about 50 different videos on the app in action to get people up to speed. This will be available on AutoCAD Exchange online. There are also 6-8 training videos inside the application. We are offering considerably more training than we offer for Windows.

AFR: Why is that?

RM: We have found that Mac customers are considerably more self-serving.

AFR: Let’s talk a bit about your expectations. Obviously Autodesk has put in a lot of good effort on this first release. There is a lot of thoughtfulness for what makes Mac users different…and I think it shows. But this is version one.

RM: First and foremost this product has to stand by itself. We are still validating quite a bit of that. Vectorworks, ArchiCAD and Rhino are already out in the market. I think there will be a lot of side-by-side product buying. We are offering a free trial because it’s a big new thing for us and we are excited about it.

AFR: And where will it be available? Are there plans for other languages?

RM: It will be in English only for now and be available in the US and parts of Europe.

AFR: Rob thanks for this great interview. Let me just ask one more question and Noah may want to chip in on this too. AutoCAD on the Mac has been coveted for a very very long time. This is a big deal. How is this changing Autodesk? What does this mean for Autodesk and Apple relations?

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Reader Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony Frausto, Anthony Frausto. Anthony Frausto said: Exclusive: AutoCAD's Fateful Return to the Mac. Architosh has the complete story. […]

  2. Posted by:
    December 17, 2010 04:00 pm EST

    I can’t wait fro them to bring over REVIT. Now that would be awesome.

  3. Posted by:
    December 17, 2010 10:46 pm EST

    I am impressed! I really never warmed up to Acad and do not use it, but I have a passion for CAD on the MAC. I maintain that Mac productivity is much better. Windows has so many issues and problems that it wastes my time. After 20 years on the drafting board I bought a CAD package in 1983. It was based on a built up Apple lle. I had looked at Acad and it scared me. It looked very inefficient. No joystick or GUI.

    Today I have 27 years experience with many CAD programs on Mac & Windows. Mac wins, period. I have gone to extremes now and purchased Siemens NX Mac to be able to work efficiently on my chosen platform. I will always have a PC to use SolidWorks and integrate with the Windoze world but I naturally gravitate to my Mac as much as possible.

    I am having a discussion with Siemens NX people in the Linkedin NX User’s Group at
    about the logic of making more money (as an independent) or being more productive as a large company by simply adding a Mac to each solid modeling designer’s workstation.

    Your business may have chosen Windoze as the standard platform but an Apple Mac can be added to run Acad, NX 6 or higher with no downside. If it pencils out and makes me more money, I would add a hippopotamus to my office.

    The question I am asking is will someone (Siemens?, Autodesk?), do a benchmark test over a few weeks to put the two OS’s up against each other. The only question should be which platform supports the designer best and allows him to produce the most paying work with a given dual platform program. And how much more. The PC can be along side the Mac in this test to allow the user to have access to anything he needs in the Windoze world. I think the payback will be so good that both platforms can be afforded and used at will. I use both every day and I am shopping for a hippo.

    Merry Christmas,

    Nolton Johnson

  4. Posted by:
    December 18, 2010 01:23 pm EST

    AutoCAD is crap. Just like Microsoft AutoDESK uses their market dominance to shell out poorly designed software that forces users into corners they should stay away from. They compel the industry away from open standards. There’s a strong indication in the story that the company is also violating privacy principles to discern who among their users is running on Macs. I don’t trust that even if they deliver a credible product that they will stick with it or maintain adequate support. I don’t think Architosh should be providing free marketing for a company that has shirked the platform for so many years.

  5. Dear Emergencypicnic,

    Your views are of course welcome and appreciated at Architosh. You do raise an interesting point about privacy but I am not sure they are doing anything that Apple and Microsoft don’t already do in some form or another. When programs crash and send crash reports, they send vital info on the OS and hardware they run on. If the OS companies are doing it, not sure it is all that terrible for third-parties either. Just a thought?

    As for “providing free marketing”? We don’t provide free marketing to anyone. A feature interview does give corporate and product managers/creators a chance to tout their stuff but only in the context of genuine interest to the larger community of users. Many Mac CAD users have been wanting to see this happen for a very long time. Some PC AutoCAD users didn’t! We think the story is interesting on many levels as it provides a glimpse into background thinking, forward-looking vision and implementation details for one of the world’s largest most important software companies in the context of how it affects the Mac CAD/3D community.

  6. Congrats to the AutoCAD crowd, but as an animator for games, I still say that Autodesk treats Mac users as second class customers.
    After buying Alias out, they killed the Mac version of Motionbuilder, which despite promises from Autodesk in several forums (including their own shows no signs whatsoever of making a comeback after 3 Win-only versions.
    As a direct result of this, Autodesk’s much touted Entertainment Creation Suite is not available for Mac Users either, since such bundle includes Motionbuilder along with Mudbox, Maya et al.
    Their solution? “run it on Bootcamp”. Just don’t expect A-desk to credit the $300 that it costs to buy the copy of Vista/7/XP to Mac users.

Comments are closed.

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