Unless I missed something from that article...Is this just a client for viewing renderings or something? I cannot imagine a designer sitting down at an iPad to do any real work... (although as a sort of digital paper, it works)
"Autodesk will soon introduce a free mobile version of the software that will run on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. That version has more limited capabilities, Mr. Hanspal said. But with it, an engineer, for example, could bring drawings to a job site on an iPad, rather than on a big roll of paper, and make annotations on them."
But that's more than made up for in the added usefulness.
For reference, i have a far harder time reading an HTC Incredible in the sun.
I worked on a project years ago for the US Navy. At the time the average warship had something like 5 tons of paper documentation on board so they can do wartime repairs at sea if necessary. But 5-tons of paper docs are risky on a warship since they're combustable and easily destroyed.
Putting all these docs in digital form reduces the weight and risk (doesn't burn and easily replicated). Having that information available via an iPad, iPhone or other portable tablet device would be very handy, indeed.
As a designer, I can imagine being out for coffee or dinner with a potential client and not having my Macbook with me. Being able to pull out my iPhone or iPad and do a quick and dirty sketch of my thoughts/ideas to better convey the message could be incredibly useful. Much better than a standard cocktail napkin.
AutoCad is seeking to simply fill a void in a complete cross-hardware line. This addition will enable users to "CAD" wherever and whenever within certain constraints. These applications will work seamlessly together - so a quick sketch on your iPhone can later be redrawn and upgraded on your desktop.
You will find 20% of the employees doing "big idea" design. They don't use AutoCAD.
You will find 80% of the employees (who wish they were the other 20%) implementing the designers "big ideas" in AutoCAD.