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Apple in CAD/3D: Opportunities and Room for Improvement
While Apple is extremely well poised to both shape and benefit from the various interactions between the tablet and the cloud, the company has many areas for where there is room for improvement.
To truly embrace the engineering market James Scapa, CEO of Altair, feels that Apple needs to strengthen their sales and support. “For Apple to succeed in the engineering sector it will need more than a great platform.” “They will need to work with the IT groups of the companies in this space and they will need to support the ISVs as well,” he adds. “HP, IBM, Sun, Intel and Microsoft, to their credit,” he continues, “have always understood and embraced this.”
Apple however has never been strong in supporting the enterprise and trends like those happening in University computing may continue to shape Apple’s thinking about letting computing eventually drift further into the control of the end user or consumer. In fact, they may indeed be encouraging it.
Varkonyi remarked, “I also see a trend–led by Apple–of complex professional systems shifting toward a more ‘consumer product’ approach, meaning simple and easy to understand user interfaces and interactions.” Varkonyi sees this trend as good as it can help BIM vendors bring the benefits of BIM to a much wider audience.
Both Scalpa’s and Varkonyi’s points are very valid. Apple can improve in supporting businesses and enterprises and the company does do so every year. At the same time Apple continues to excel at simplifying the complex. Eventually working at both ends of the problem Apple may, one day, find itself clearly within a dominant position within the engineering space.
So where does this leave us now? What is the “state of Apple” in CAD and 3D? Our graph on the first page clearly indicates an unstoppable force in the Cupertino company.
One of the more remarkable aspects of that graph is it is clear that there is significant headroom for momentous growth on the Mac. While fourfold growth is nothing to sneeze at in a ten year span, it doesn’t keep pace with Apple’s remarkable revenue picture, largely driven by iOS.
Will iCloud be the one force that binds them all, eventually pushing Mac adoption at the growth rates seen by its sibling devices? This is a key question that remains to be seen.
Part of the challenge for the CAD and 3D industry in looking at the influence of Apple is trying to figure out how it’s many innovations fit into their defined modes of doing things. And this is what is so tricky for the rest of the industry. Apple doesn’t care much about previous modes of doing things–they break those modes by defining new ones.
And if that picture is one that is perennially difficult to paint, then perhaps the best resting point for one’s understanding is to simply settle on what is apparently obvious: Apple is working at synthesizing its old platform with its new one, its old era device with its new era mobility devices… via the cloud!
This is the third article in our 2011 State of Apple in CAD/3D Industries special series reports, corresponding to SIGGRAPH 2011. We hope you enjoyed this article as our fourth in the series will delve into technical details behind the Mac platform as it applies to CAD and 3D. Again, we will be hearing from some of the world’s leading experts.
Voices in this article include: Sean Flaherty, CEO, Nemetschek Vectorworks; Carl Bass, CEO, Autodesk; James Scapa, CEO, Altair; Viktor Varkonyi, CEO Graphisoft; Bob McNeel, President of McNeel and Associates; and Dr. Chris Yessios, President of AutoDesSys. Yes, if you might have noticed, we changed the planned title for this article from “5 CEO’s….et cetera to our current title of “Top CEOs…” At the last minute we ended up with more input and we wanted to share it.
We hope you have enjoyed this third article and look forward to feedback. Post below or email us.