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AutoCAD Returns To Mac

Autodesk's 3D engineering design software coming to Apple computers after a 20-year absence, with new mobile apps for iPad, iPhone.

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Hoping to cash in on growing Mac sales, Autodesk has brought its AutoCAD design software back to Apple's computers after an absence of almost 20 years.

Autodesk on Tuesday also embraced Apple's other popular products by introducing the AutoCAD WS mobile application for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The software makes it possible to edit and share AutoCAD designs in the field. AutoCAD is 3D design software for engineering.

"The release of AutoCAD for Mac marks the return of professional design and engineering software to the Mac platform and an important convergence of power and design," Amar Hanspal, senior VP of Autodesk platform solutions and emerging business, said in a statement.

Indeed, Autodesk exited the Apple platform when Mac computer sales dropped to a level that no longer justified software development costs. That has changed, particularly in the United States, where it is the fourth-largest computer maker with 8.8% of the market, according to IDC.

In the second quarter of this year, Apple sold 3.47 million Macs, which was a company record and a 33% unit increase over a year ago. Sales of iPhones soared 61% to 8.4 million units, and sales of the iPad, which was released in early April, reached 3.27 million units, Apple said in reporting earnings in July.

Autodesk said the AutoCAD mobile application will make it possible for real-time collaboration on files. AutoCAD for Mac takes full advantage of Mac OS X capabilities, including the multi-touch trackpad on Mac notebooks, and graphical browsing of design files with Cover Flow, a feature that shows album covers, for example, when browsing music files.

AutoCAD for Mac and the mobile applications are scheduled to be released in the fall. The mobile applications will be available through Apple's iTunes store at no charge.

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