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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?
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?