The Mac cracks the engineering market

August 31, 2010: 5:52 AM ET

After an 18-year hiatus, AutoCAD returns to the platform and is coming soon to the iPad

AutoCAD for Mac beta. Source: Macstories

In an important vote of confidence in Apple's (AAPL) resurgence as a mainstream computing platform, Autodesk (ADSK) announced overnight Tuesday that it is bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac.

AutoCAD is an industrial-strength 3D modeling program for software and engineering design. According to Autodesk, its various Microsoft (MSFT) Windows configurations are used by some 10 million people around the world. The last version that ran native on a Mac was released in June 1992. Autodesk stopped supporting it two years later.

The new Mac version is scheduled to be released in October. It will cost $3,995, same as Windows. But in addition to the desktop edition, Apple will be getting a free companion iOS version that runs on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This will have limited design capabilities, but would allow an architect, for example, to bring drawings to a jobs site without having to print them out.

"Apple is thrilled that Autodesk is bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac," Apple vice president Phil Schiller said in a news release. "We think it's the perfect combination for millions of design and engineering professionals."


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