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AutoCAD returns to Mac

There is no doubt that the Mac’s world is better, but our doubts for moving were always: and what do I do with AutoCAD?

Who would have believed it, when, after 1994 AutoCAD R13c42b was the last version we saw half running on PowerMacintosh. 18 years later AutoCAD returns for Mac. Just this year it is also separated from Linux.

What happens is that Mac instead of dying in an exclusive niche where there is no competition for choice (Charts) has grown in hardware at a level of impressive acceptance. Nobody doubt about Mac technology, we will hesitate about a couple of stupid things that from time to time are attributed to Steve Jobs, but Apple’s strategy has been to launch excellent products, like the case of the Ipod, Iphone and now Ipad that with everything and criticism, those who understand about usefulness know it is a platform on which to build graphical applications, not a phone in corn flakes box-size.

In the AutoDesk’s case, despite being the largest in the CAD environment in terms of market position, with just tickles made by competitions like Microstation, IntelliCAD, DataCAD and ArchiCAD, beyond the Civil environment has been very successful in the animation field and industrial design in recent years. Products like Maya are a luxury, for example.

In this case, AutoCAD is not in the position of that time. There, when it left dressed in white the Apple line, AutoCAD was fighting for the land wanted by Powerz and ArchiCAD that continued with Mac. It did not want distractions while engaged in buying Softdesk and Autoarchitect wanting to do something more than lines, areas in which Intergraph was already strong (not in numbers but in astral smoke).

And what does AutoCAD win going to Mac.

Elementary, my dear Watson. Working with Mac would exploit better the resource than being struggling with the PCs memory that is no longer for more. The 10 reasons given by AutoDesk for testing AutoCAD for Mac are based on that, hence the hurry for us to spend all to 64-bit PC and suddenly to Mac, because there it performs better the Monster’s can.


We are aware that the sharper I-mac will not come in the short term to have a higher proportion than they now have in respect to PC. But it can overcome them-and it already does-, with mobile devices. Also, be aware, if a technology is going to die, surely it must be a PC, that is from no one and not Mac which is Apple’s property. Although, desktop’s users will not die.

So go for Mac AutoDesk, partly because of the CAD application users’ niche that so many days ago called for it and partly for seeking space with applications for viewing / animation. While there are not moving, certainly it is seeking to position with mobile devices and other gadgets that are in the white oven; we talk about applications for iPhone and iPad, for which all CAD platforms partners are building prototypes.

Differences and similarities

AutoCAD 2011 for Mac has almost the same features as for the PC. With basic differences such as:

  • Interface and the dubious Ribbon does not come as well but are adapted to Mac-style paddles.


  • In addition to take advantage of all gestured juggling from the white magic mice.
  • For some strange reason the routines are not entered when AutoCAD came out, that came with AutoDesk. I refer to the layers’ group management, layers filter and sheet set, underlay, those which in these earlier versions saved us the world at printing time. Although surely they will come in the next version.
  • Neither comes with support for importing dgn, export to pdf or dwf.
  • Obviously, it won’t run adjustments specific to Windows, like Visual Basic for Applications, OLE Objects or Media Audio. This is a great disadvantage if developments have been worked here, but those that are constructed with AutoLisp (minus DCL) do run and also most run on ObjectARX.
  • It will not run on 32 bits, only 64. And it requests 3 GB of RAM, but for not falling short it recommends 4 GB.
  • In terms of format support, it will endure from R14, 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2010. And if anyone wants to see how a brontosaurus egg is, you can do save as to dxf R12. Again, it doesn’t read dgn.

There is a trial version for 30 days.

AutoDesk has arranged for free download a version of 30 days to test. In addition to educational institutions there is always the option of licensing for this purpose. Then it can be get from zero, which goes for about $ 4,000 or migrate from an earlier version by paying only a cost of transfer.

They are also opening the door to be installed on two machines themselves. Like having an installation on the Office PC and one in the laptop; this will like everyone; but it seems that without doing a checkout as with MicroStation.

They have not said that other applications will go to Mac, for now is only the drawing board. But I can assure that the following application is Maya and Inventor. In particular, I find a great AutoDesk’s step towards a niche that moves a lot of money and had been neglected for 18 years. There have already been announced Mac compatible versions:

  • In animation:  Inventor, Maya, 3ds Max, Alias, Mudbox, Sketchbook.
  • In construction: Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, Revit MEP

As someone said in a forum, news is also good for those who use Linux, because possibly in 18 years we will have a distribution for Ubuntu. clip_image003

Here you can download the trial version.

And there are more information and videos here.

Will there be Microstation for Mac?

It gave me pleasure to see in the Be Inspired a navigation prototype with a Ipad. But I don’t believe so, but if they would had tried it, at this point would be well positioned in this niche.

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