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The iPad: How the CAD/3D industry is being changed

In our second article in our 2011 State of Apple in CAD/3D industries, we talk to five key CEOs in these industries and one expert on what the impact of the Apple iPad is having, as it helps reshape CAD and 3D.

Continued from page 1

The iPad as a New Vessel

A year ago at D8 Steve Jobs noted that the history of the desktop computer may follow a similar path as that of the truck. He remarked that there was a time when trucks outsold cars. The utility of the truck may still be as useful as today as it was when many more of us worked on farms, but the car has continued to evolve in response to changes in how we live.

In some ways the desktop computer has followed a similar life. Jobs sees the desktop like a truck and mobile laptops and tablet devices are like cars, in all the glorious, detailed permutations.


What makes the iPad particularly special isn’t that Apple invented some beautiful new type of cross-over (between smartphone and laptop) but rather that its particular formation–and this includes its software–hits a unique sweet-spot in mobility in relation to the power of the cloud. It’s the magical combination of camera, large work surface and extreme battery life. In this way, the iPad is more like a sailing vessel, analogous in time to when humanity discovered the means to travel great distances safely across the seas, with great speed and with large storage capacity.

In order to discover new worlds Columbus needed two things: the vessel to carry him there and the navigation equipment to reference himself to something omnipresent and global. Is it truly too much to suggest that the iPad and the Cloud can combine to transform human history just as much?

Carl Bass of Autodesk sees the relationship between the new mobile touch devices and the other types of devices–which include the cloud and web services–as all providing a matrix of interconnected possibilities. “It’s a combination of phone and camera as well as work surface,” says Bass,  “allowing us to do a lot more outside the office then we were ever able to do before.”

While many companies have approached the iPad and development on it as another type of ‘creation device’ the truth about it is that the word “creation” may be better substituted for other words associated with exploration and mobility…like “capture.”

Is Creation Off The Table

Dr. Chris Yessios, one of the 3D and CAD industry’s most esteemed leaders and president of AutoDesSys, Inc, the makers of the regarded formZ modeling application, felt that touch as part of the iPad as “creation device” will need further work in order to gain the accuracies needed.

“It will certainly be used as a visualization device and it will be great at that,” said Yessio,  “thanks to its portability and interactivity. However, it may require some major capacity enhancements in order to be taken seriously as a CAD/modeling environment.”

next page: Is Creation of the Table Continued and The Human Touch

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