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What possible use case is there for autocad on the iPhone? This seems unnecessarily silly to me.

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)

From the NYT article (the source of this blog spam):

"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."

It will probably be something similar to Autodesk Design Review:


isn't the ipad screen very reflective and hard to read in sunlight (like that which would be on a jobsite)?

In practice it's not that big a deal. Sometimes you have to tilt the screen or shade it.

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.

The main use case is that you've been trapped in an insane asylum, for various reasons we won't get into, with nothing but an iPhone and access to the Autocad iPhone app, and you really want to impress the administrators with your pitch for a new swimming atrium on the south wing.

There's many cases where you might not want to create technical drawings but might want access to them.

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.

From my understanding the iOS versions of AutoCad are in no way meant to serve as a replacement for the desktop version. But rather a very simplified version of the tools and features available.

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.

Architects will love using this on the iPad once the construction phase begins on a design and they have to do their Punch Lists.

It certainly could be great as a viewer- an interactive blueprint- but are you suggesting they will do actual design on the iPad?

No, I don't think there is much value during the design phase. Punch Lists are created when the building is near completion. The architect walks around the building, taking notes of what's not acceptable, and sends photographs + descriptions of an issue to the other contractors. With a portable version of AutoCAD this process could be made more efficient by allowing the architect to enter notes in the drawing file while at the site (and maybe attach images to it taken with iPad with the help of a macro or some other add-on).

No, but AutoCAD isn't used by designers anyway.

I know several designers who use AutoCAD (and other CAD programs). There are more types of design than doing web pages you know.

Go to any medium to large architecture firm.

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.

But by people who design something. Using the verb is entirely appropriate.

It's to save on trying to look at an A0 drawing outside on a windy day :-)

Or worse, somebody on site redlines an A0 drawing, the changes doesn't get back to the office and 18months later you are trying to fit an elevator into a shaft that is 2" too small in a finished sky scraper.

As mentioned at the end of the article, "The NYT reports that the idea behind the mobile version is to allow an engineer to bring digital drawings to a job site and make notations on them from the field."

As an architect, what would be really helpful is a great pdf viewer with enough speed and storage capacity to hold large sets of drawings (which can approach 50 to 100 megs). The way to do it, of course, is via a webapp so you don't have to locally store the data. Having autocad on an iphone is silly as it would be radically difficult to try to use a cad package with such a limited screen. But being able to mark up drawings on site - that is useful - with a red pencil and text, etc.

Besides supplemental uses on the current iOS devices, if there were to be an iMac with touch down the road, this would be a good first step getting ready for it.

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