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80 percent of college students in CAD-based majors prefer Mac, says Autodesk

In a stunning reversal of fortunes compared to just a few years ago, Autodesk is now reporting that 80 plus percent of college students in CAD-based majors, such as architecture, engineering and industrial design, prefer Mac.


Today Architosh has published an interview with Autodesk’s product manager of the AutoCAD for Mac group, Micah Dickerson.

The interview, which you can read in full here (see, Architosh, “Autodesk updates Architosh on what’s happening with AutoCAD for Mac,” 26 Apr 2013), includes several fascinating facts and trends beyond answering questions about where Autodesk is hoping to take AutoCAD for the Mac in the future.

College Students Love Mac: Even in CAD Fields

Several years ago when the iPhone emerged the IT industry began to discuss the “halo-effect” which described a rub-off effect whereby buyers of Apple’s iPhone would begin to both question their loyalty to Microsoft Windows computers and explore and examine the sleekness of Apple’s Macs while shopping for their iPhone in Apple’s famous stores. As we see now from history the “halo-effect” was very real.

“…based on our field research in academia,” says Micah Dickerson, “college students in CAD-using majors are adopting the Mac as their preferred computer of choice by something like 80 percent or greater. This means, while they may be taught or doing work on Windows machines in labs and class rooms, they go back to their dorm room or home and do their homework on a Mac.”

Yet Apple’s sleek software, glossy store experience, and industry-leading customer satisfaction is not completely explaining the attraction to its products by college students–though in truth that actually should be enough. As the interview with Micah explains, there are emerging trends in mobility and the cloud that are clearly at play in all of the CAD industries and Apple’s customers are extremely well-positioned.

The net effect of Apple’s strong forward-leading positions is that college students–not just in all majors–but in CAD majors in particular, are greatly favoring Mac adoption as their first choice in a computer. This is no insignificant fact. It’s hugely meaningful because the CAD industry as a whole has been a very strong bastion of Microsoft Windows support.

And Autodesk–as one of its primary global leaders in supplying the design tools that architects, engineers and product designers need–has been quick to take notice.

Today Autodesk stands at the leading edge of where an industry and cultural giant like Apple is taking us all. Micah explains further in the article just how much Apple’s own customers exemplify this strategic edge. To read the full interview go here.

Architosh Analysis

We want to add a bit of analysis to this post. It’s important to backup to the iPod when one discusses the Apple “halo effect” because that is when it was truly first discussed, in reference to both that product and the new stores in which it was sold. However, if one studies either the AAPL stock price, Apple’s growth in overall revenues, or its Mac unit shipments the real sharp vertical climb began during and shortly after the time of the iPhone.

What has been impressive to observe since iOS has truly taken off is how quickly Autodesk has emerged as a major provider of iOS software tools (and now services) aimed squarely at its own customer base and customers of future industries–like the maker movement scene.

[Editor’s note: Readers may want to view “Architosh’s Ultimate iPad Guide: Apps for Architects,” series, published very recently, to see to what extent Autodesk has provided solutions to the AEC industry on the iOS platform, as well as review leading iOS apps for architects in general from the entire field software providers.]

[Edit. note: We have added a bit of analysis to this post since it went live earlier today, 26 April 2013]

[Edit. note: We have made one minor edit to our Analysis section, 26 April 2013.]

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