AutoCAD 2011 marked the software’s return to the Apple community’s bosom after an 18-year absence. Today’s new releases, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac, are the company’s continuing commitment to Mac users, a platform not all 3D design software developers have fully embraced yet.
Highlights for 2014 Mac releases include:
- Support for Apple’s high-definition Retina display with crisper lines and text, providing a much higher level of details even at high zoom levels;
- Drawing Sync with cloud-hosted data in Autodesk 360; and
- The ability to package drawings (similar to Windows version’s eTransmit) with xrefed documents and fonts.
Back in 2009, AutoCAD’s return to the Mac platform was just an idea. The company was tossing it around in a survey to gauge user demand. But the past several releases of AutoCAD for Mac are clear indication that Mac users are now part of Autodesk’s ongoing R&D commitment.
Micah Dickerson, Autodesk’s product manager for AutoCAD for Mac, exxplained, “We have a team of developers dedicated to working on AutoCAD for Mac. They don’t work on the Windows version.”
Currently, AutoCAD for Mac has no support for password-protected files. Therefore, exchanging password-protected AutoCAD files created in Windows version with Mac-based AutoCAD users could cause hiccups. Dickerson acknowledged the issue and explained Autodesk would address it.
Because of the different ways Windows and Mac versions of AutoCAD handle file paths for xrefed documents, Windows-based files with xrefs with absolute paths may need to be fixed when transferred to Mac users. The new file packaging function in AutoCAD 2014 for Mac is expected to solve this issue.
The company generally relies on value-added resellers (VARs) to distribute and sell its professional software titles, but AutoCAD for Mac, Dickerson explained, is an exception. While Mac product is available through traditional VARs, it’s also sold directly through Amazon.com and Autodesk’s own online store (listed with suggested retail price $4,195).
Mac users, Dickerson observed, seem to prefer “direct sales.” He added, “We see Mac usage generally in smaller firms, or among a smaller group in a large firm.” The setup of relatively fewer seats simplifies deployment needs, thus VARs and system integrators may not always be required.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT for Mac are both expected to be compatible with Apple’s upcoming OS X Mavericks. The new OS is set to debut this week; hence, Autodesk’s decision to release AutoCAD for Mac in the same time.