Autodesk announced Monday that its AutoCAD software used by professionals to design everything from skyscrapers to pocket knives is reuniting with the Macintosh computer platform.
A version of AutoCAD has been tailored for Macintosh computers, and applications for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices will let people collaborate on designs using those popular Apple mobile devices.
"Apple is thrilled that Autodesk is bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac and we think it's the perfect combination for millions of design and engineering professionals," said Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller.
"The AutoCAD WS app is a bold new idea, a mobile version of industry-leading design software for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch."
AutoCAD is returning to Macintosh after parting ways with the platform in the early 1990s in favor of computers running on Windows software made by Microsoft, according to Autodesk senior vice president of platform solutions and emerging business Amar Hanspal.
Autodesk was not selling much of its computer assisted design -- AutoCAD -- program for Macintosh machines since much of the architecture, design and engineering world at that time opted for Windows computers, he explained.
About five years ago, Apple began shifting to Intel computer chips that let Macintosh computers run programs designed for Windows machines.
"When the Apple processor moved to the Intel environment, we saw customers moving to the Mac," Hanspal said. "They really like the Mac experience but wanted to use their favorite programs."
AutoCAD is Autodesk's "flagship" design and engineering software that lets people work in 3D to create detailed plans for nearly any type of product.
"AutoCAD is the tool that people use to create buildings, roads, tunnels, bridges, machines... pretty much anything you see," Hanspal said.
Free applications for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices will let people use those gadgets to review designs and suggest edits with the professionals behind creations able to watch in real-time on desktop Macintosh screens.
"Our customers were pounding on our doors saying they wanted a better experience on the Mac," Hanspal said. "Similarly, we are watching iPads showing up in board rooms, shop floors, and people carrying them into everyday work."
The Macintosh version of AutoCAD will be released in the United States and Europe in the coming three months and be priced at 3,995 dollars (US), the same as the software for Windows computers, according to Autodesk.
AutoCAD software will be free to students at high schools or universities, where Macintosh has a strong foothold in the United States.
"We want to make sure the generation of tomorrow has access to the best design software," Hanspal said of the move.
Autodesk is based in San Rafael, California, and released the first version of AutoCAD in late 1982.
The software is used by engineers, architects and other professionals worldwide to design buildings and objects using features like animation and virtualization.
Approximately 10 million people use AutoCAD worldwide, Hanspal told AFP.
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