Not enough attention in our region was given to the announcement that came out few weeks ago- Autodesk, the maker of AutoCAD 3D engineering and design software, returning to develop for the Apple platform. Autodesk has actually started to ship its most famous application; AutoCAD, for the Apple Mac computers. The package includes a free mobile version called AutoCAD WS, specifically for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The WS lets users edit and share their AutoCAD designs while on the move.
AutoCAD for Mac sports an intuitive interface that will feel familiar to Mac users. It also supports easy collaboration regardless of the platform in use, so users can upload and manage designs in their online workspace directly from the desktop and easily edit and share those designs through a web browser or Apple iOS devices.
Simply put, it’s a victorious moment for Apple which has been working hard to lure more enterprise applications to its platform. Autodesk applications are being used by 10 million professional engineers, architects, designers and artists in 185 countries.
“The release of AutoCAD for Mac marks the return of professional design and engineering software to the Mac platform,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business. “Both the Mac and mobile devices have become serious business platforms within the last few years.”
“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 Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The AutoCAD WS app is a bold new idea, a mobile version of industry-leading design software for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.”
The decision to buy a PC or a Mac used to rely heavily on software availability for every platform. Today, nearly everything is available on the Mac OS X. With the continuous success of the iOS based mobile devices, which basically requires a Mac OS X to develop for, the shift from using PCs to Macs seems to be gaining momentum.
No one wants to risk missing out on the rise of iPhone and iPad applications market. Those who provides applications on all these platform: PC, cloud and Mobile will reap the benefits. Those who don’t- better start packing.
You might see this as an incidental case- and it might be. It may also mark the start of a major move to Macs. According to netmarketshare.com, combined Apple devices have over 1% of global browsing share, which is now higher than Linux. Mac OS X had 5% of the global market share in last August 2010, while Windows remained dominant with 91.34% share. Microsoft might not need to worry, but they should keep a very open eye, the tides are slowly changing, against them.
What Microsoft dubs as a “Complete Reboot” for their mobile strategy; the Windows Phone 7, is set for imminent release in Europe and Asia on October 21, 2010, and in the US on November 8th, 2010. Windows Phone 7 has been built from scratch, bearing no resemblance to its predecessors. It is considered by many as the last chance for a Microsoft come back to the mobile platform.
In the past, the Smartphone OS market had few competitors running against Microsoft, now the tides have changed, with big players getting in the ring, like Apple, Blackberry, and the rising contender: Android. According to Gartner research, Microsoft’s global Smartphone OS market share dropped further to 4.7%, while IDC showed some mercy, claiming it was down to 6.8% only!
So will users ditch their iPhones and Blackberries and line up outside of stores like with the iPhone? Guess not. Nevertheless, there are lots of new features which are worth checking, like:
Firstly and finally, Windows Phone 7 will use multi-touch technology. After relying for long years on the plastic stylus, Windows fans can use their fingers to navigate the interface. We are yet to see if this new feature is glitch-free.
Then comes the large and dynamic ‘live’ tiles, with the usual small icons gone, it’s all large and dynamic tiles. Those tiles allow for quick access to applications: sending emails, browsing the internet, playing music and exclusively, games on the Xbox system. Claiming to save power, the default theme has been set to a dark one, but it looked too dull for me. Luckily, this can be changed later on.
But it’s not only good looks that matters the most, it’s the ease of use and upgradability, and most notably, the application front. Installing an application on the Windows Mobile phones used to be a mental challenge, not guaranteed to work, or not to suck up the available memory needed to run other applications. Microsoft stated that what they lack in quantity of applications for the Windows Phone 7, they’ll make up for in quality. Gizmodo’s editor was impressed when managed to go through some of Windows Phone 7′s first games and apps, which are expected to total 2000 apps.
On the other hand, there are a handful of missing features, like the cut, copy, and paste function, full multitasking, and the inclusion of Adobe Flash. Recently Microsoft has announced that copy and paste function, along with the Adobe Flash support, will be added to the platform with future updates, but without setting a fixed date. Other features support remain tentative, or MIA.
The final verdict:
Will it top or flop, that’s the question we’ll have an answer for in the coming days. Rumors have it that the expected retail price for the first Windows Phone 7 will hover around $700 (without a service contract) and that’s a bit steep in the days of the global crunch. Personally, I tend to believe that Microsoft innovates only when cornered by strong competitors, but this belief is deterred by the unhappy memory of the ill-fated short-lived Microsoft Kin mobile phone, which was cancelled few months after its launch early this year, causing the head of the Devices division at Microsoft to quit his job.
Microsoft is also notorious for missing things up, pushing unfinished products to market, and relying heavily on later updates and fixes. Microsoft stopped innovating till the iPhone came out and forced the Microsoft lads to role up their sleeves to catch up. For all of that, I won’t hold my breath much, but I sure wish Microsoft would prove me wrong here.