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iPad 2: Impact on enterprise, engineering and CAD

iPad 2 stands to continue its dominance and transform opportunities in enterprise, engineering and CAD. Who wins, how and why? We asked Charles Edge to help us clarify the issues.

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The Connections

Today that first show belongs to Autodesk. Their ability to bring AutoCAD WS to market for the iPad (and iOS) exists because they were already addressing CAD in the cloud with Project Butterfly’s development in Israel. (see are feature on Project Butterfly here).


It is the fundamental changes of the cloud and the power of the Net on many types of devices that is the major driver behind Apple’s success with iPad. In the realm of business IT, like many past phases of “disruptive innovations,” it is the largest customers who are able to both gain the most and afford to investigate early. In engineering and AEC today that largely holds true as the biggest AEC teams for instance are doing the majority of projects under BIM versus traditional 2D CAD paradigms. (learn more, see Architosh’s 2010 BIM report)

So it follows that those who gain early leads on iPad stand to benefit the most as the iPad has a dramatic take-up in enterprise accounts. These large installations can number in the many thousands per customer. And with de facto portability back to the desktop, software developers with complete roundtrip technology stacks (between iOS and desktop operating systems), are in the best position to capitalize.

Creativity and Quality Still Rule

While many of the world’s leading engineering software companies are plugging away developing apps for the iPad, one shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that their shear size and the size of their customers will automatically make them the leaders on iPad.

As Edge said, “…3D and CAD are very much about the apps and so there’s a lot of opportunity for something different and new, like the iPad itself.” The secret to leading on the iPad platform for CAD and engineering software applications is likely to follow Apple’s simple formula for success of the iPad itself.

“Apple is making a quality product,” said Edge. “When you hold the iPad and interact with it, the experience is simply a quality experience.”

Creativity and quality will be the markers of success with iPad apps. Apple has an open-platform for sales and marketing and it is up to developers to simply create the best software experiences delivering the most value to customers.

Apple is doing that itself says Edge, pushing the boundaries of its core technology stack and leading over the competition, like Blackberry and Google. It comes down to keeping TCO in check. “The sandbox technology keeps users or applications from damaging the device and therefore they need very little support,” says Edge. “Add to that, all the great features and the inertia Apple has already built up from its market success, and you really have to conclude that Apple is in the driver’s seat in the tablet market.”

Editor’s note: Charles Edge is a book author and director of technology for 318, Inc., an IT consulting and development firm specializing in integrating Apple into the enterprise.

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