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Architosh Staff (
7 Aug 2002 [edited: Aug 7]

Apple's education customers deeply unaware of Mac CAD apps?

It appears that Apple education customers aren't too familiar with the many Macintosh CAD applications that are available to them. That's the message that came out of an Apple Technology Update for Educators event that took place recently in New England.

Education Blind Spot - Mac Folks Contemplate Windows Move for CAD

According to an article sent to us by Gregory Conyingham, AIA, an architect and president of one of the largest Apple-centric CAD VAR's in the country, Integrated CADD Services Inc., there appears to be a software (CAD) blind spot in the educational market. Apple's own customers are unaware of the vast library of excellent CAD software available to them.

As Gregory remarked:

A few months ago I presented to a number of educators (around 350!) over 2 days at Apple Technology Updates for Educators ran by some of our New England Apple Education Execs.. I spoke with many afterwards and was a little surprised by the lack of adoption of OS X but even more surprised to hear about the lack of available software offerings. We were showing ArchiCAD 7.0 for OS X which we sell in a University Lab Pack for $150 for a 50 user license and were bowled over by the response.

Many of the educators we spoke with were considering switching over to Windows due to a lack of CAD software for the vocational programs within their schools. After seeing ArchiCAD 7.0 on OS X we had 14 school districts purchase it in short order.

In this case, it wasn't that the software didn't exist, Graphisoft had released the OS X version in 2001, just that the educators didn't know about it until we reached out to show them! --- Gregory Conyingham, AIA

Wow! Switching to Windows over CAD

To be honest, when we heard this story we were more than a little disappointed to learn that Apple education customers were not aware of and that the resources it presents hadn't made a larger impact on this market. Surprised too because Apple actually has an education page on its Web site devoted to Architecture with a capitol A and it list Architosh in addition to other good resources. It is a pretty good page but a bit tough to find.

Excellence in CAD Actually Prevails on the Macintosh

While the common Autocad, by Autodesk Inc., may not exist on the Macintosh platform at the moment (it did in the past) almost all of the remaining market-leading CAD applications not only exist on the Macintosh but actually thrive there. While Gregory clearly did an excellent job presenting ArchiCAD 7 for Mac OS X (especially if it resulted in 14 districts signing up for the software) to educators, there are more than a dozen superb technical, design and 3D CAD applications on the Macintosh. In fact, we have over 50 applications listed in our Architosh Digital Practice Guide. We have more great CAD on the Mac then we can shake a stick at.

We would like to point out that CAD on the Mac is a major market, to the extent that such a site as this can actually focus on it, along with related 3D and AEC software information. Apple customers need to understand this; they don't need to move to Windows just to get superb CAD software. In fact, two key software developers—BOA Research Inc. and Nemetschek North America Inc. —are major supporters of the Macintosh CAD market, both in the depth of their software offerings, history on the platform, and interest in supporting CAD on the Macintosh in education. Both are key corporate sponsors of this site and any Macintosh-based educator would do well to consider them.

Nemetschek's VectorWorks line of CAD software (formerly known as MiniCAD) was initially only available for the Mac until the mid-late 90's. Regarded worldwide as one of the best CAD programs on both Mac and Windows platforms, VectorWorks has proven itself in both professional and educational environments as both a powerful but yet easy-to-use CAD program. Along with ArchiCAD and the PC-only Autocad, VectorWorks is one of the market-leading architectural CAD programs worldwide.

BOA Research's new BOA CAD is actually built on the venerable Architrion CAD engine from the 80's and early 90's. A pioneer in the 80's with model-centric architectural CAD development, Nader Family, CEO of BOA, has an addictive enthusiasm for CAD on the Mac and is one of the Mac platform's staunchest supporters.

While these are just a few of the CAD options, there are many more, and many are focused on being general-purpose drafting and modeling tools in addition to architecture and engineering. See below for many of our available resources. If any educators wish to contact us with any questions about CAD on the Mac, please do write and we will get back to you. We also have an index on this site which covers our articles on over 50 products for the CAD market over the last three years.

Resources and Related Articles for Educational Macintosh CAD/3D

BOA Resources

BOA 2.4 for Mac OS Review Article (lots of screenshots)

Special Feature: BOA In-Depth - Part 1 (lots of screenshots)

VectorWorks Resources

Review: VectorWorks ARCHITECT 9.5 (lots of screenshots)

Mac3D: Nemetschek introduces 3D Power Pack

ArchiCAD Resources

Integrated CADD Services Inc. (Apple VAR Focused on ArchiCAD)

Exclusive Interview: Graphisoft US President Chris Barron, AIA, VP

Other Mac CAD Resources

FAQ: I am looking for CAD applications for the Mac?

FAQ: How many architecture firms use Macs?

Architosh Digital Practice Guide: Software

Architosh CAD and 3D Forums

Apple G5: Smokes Intel Competition

Apple, Autodesk and Mac OS X

ProSwitcher: Joe Esch: SketchUp, Cocoa and Mac OS X

Bill Gates' House Designed on Macintosh?

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