Mac CAD Mac 3D CAD news Macintosh Apple Architects Engineers Designers 3D 3D AEC MCAD Industrial Design Architoshc CAD CAD 3D

Home > Features > News

Anthony Frausto-Robledo ([email protected])
7 May 2003

Editorial: All Things Considered - The CAD Market Was Really Apple's To Lose...But It Doesn't Have To Be Permanent

It makes no sense to me -- when you think about it -- that the company famous for its graphical user interface (GUI) leadership isn't the market leader in the CAD and technical visualization markets. When Apple introduced the Mac OS in 1984, its graphics technology was light-years ahead of what Microsoft had, and within a couple years at most Apple clearly was solidifying its lead with all forms of graphics professionals: from publishing pros to logo design artists. When it came to graphics and design on the computer, Apple was it, period.

Foregone Conclusion

It should have been a foregone conclusion then that when it came time for architects, landscape architects, and interior designers to choose a computer system that they chose wisely and go with the Mac OS. And for the most part many did do exactly that. By the early 90's many of the best architectural firms in the US and abroad were solidly behind the Macintosh platform.

However, Apple has made its share of mistakes in the past in not recognizing just how tangential CAD technology was to the other graphics markets Apple today lumps under the heading "Pro" (note: not too long ago graphics, web design and publishing were lumped under the term "Creative"). And as a result of some of those mistakes -- and some things that were beyond their control -- they have given back much market share in fields like mechanical engineering and design, architecture, civil and structural engineering, interior and urban planning -- and many other CAD-related professions. No wonder sites like this one had to come into existence. Apple essentially walked away from the CAD world.

A Misunderstanding

It certainly was a misunderstanding. And Apple didn't realize it. Even today many Mac CAD users will tell you that Apple simply doesn't understand they exist. And many still will tell you that they think Apple doesn't understand their needs and just how much they love using Macs in the process of being creative technical professionals. Perhaps a real tale is in order.

Many years ago (at least three and a half) I spent part of an afternoon at the architectural offices of ADD Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, talking to Jill Rothenberg, CTO. Jill initially wasn't really sure why I had come to see her, and frankly I wasn't sure either. ADD Inc. was this growing and shining light in the Boston architectural scene and Barry Isakson, AIA, had suggested I contact Jill and see what ADD Inc. was doing. As it turns out ADD Inc. was one of the most technologically advanced architectural practices in the US (and still is) and they were almost all Macintosh. Let me repeat this for you: probably the single most technology savvy architectural firm in the United States (and a growing one at that!) was an all Mac shop!

On that summer day I saw about 15 new Power Mac G3 towers roll in the door. The office was filled with fantastic computer imagery produced on Macs they already had. And Jill said more G3s were on the way. And a staff of about five, dedicated to IT leadership in architecture, where humming away on various activities, including custom development of FileMaker Pro databases and Web sites exclusively for their practice. What I saw was in essence American leadership in the field of architecture and at the heart of it all was the Macintosh platform.

A Year Later

I wasn't really sure if I was interested in a career at ADD Inc, that day, but when I left I knew I was interested -- more than ever -- in practicing architecture the way I wanted to: using tools I loved to use. It was clear to me that day that ADD Inc. loved using the Macintosh. So imagine how surprised I was when I called about a year later to hear Jill tell me the firm was moving away from the Mac. I was stunned! When I asked why the sudden change of heart she explained that they liked the Mac (preferred the Mac) but that Bentley (the makers of Microstation) was no longer going to support the CAD product on Macintosh. She told me that unfortunately the firm had to pick between an OS platform and a CAD platform. Guess which one lost?

When I challenged her on this matter I asked why Apple hadn't done more to help the situation. She explained that Apple had failed to listen to their needs and that when it came to growing large firms like theirs (now in multiple offices) they needed enterprise level industry solutions and that Apple just wasn't there. But what did that mean? What was really the problem besides the lack of Microstation support?

A Four Year Answer

Early the next year I launched the Architosh website in earnest, to get behind the issues that had come to push Apple out at ADD Inc. At the time there were thousands of Mac-based architects around the world asking difficult questions about their computer platform of choice. They were beginning to think Apple had forgotten them and so too the many Mac software companies they had relied on for years. In the late 90's Intuit stopped making a vital financial application that many design pros -- not trained as financial jocks -- relied on to ease the burden of getting paid and running a business. And there were other troubling defections as well, and even more large firms going the other way (largely because of Bentley's decision to not update their Mac versions of Microstation). It would get worse before it would get better.

Architosh came along at just the time when it looked most bleak! At first it was just a few of us (readers and me that is) clinging to each other through this thing we called the Web. But suddenly and surely it grew and grew...and just kept growing. Our articles from the past attest to who was there early to make the site more than just a press release listing house and a tally of apps. I want readers to know that those who were there in the early years are those whose hearts were and still are most passionate about this creative platform we call Macintosh.

This Train is About To Move

After four years there may be some good news coming. As mentioned in a few different stories on the Net, Apple is awaking to the fact that the small business market is not made up of people in small business. Architects are not in small business, they are in architecture. Contractors are not in small business either, they are in construction. And the same goes for just about every other small business professional. Small business is made up of vertical industries, like real estate, like accounting, like interior design, like law, like medicine. Vertical industries respond the best to vertical messages, with few exceptions.

Most of you will agree that Apple can't ask PC-based architects to switch platforms to the Mac just because a kid can stuff a bunch of tunes on his iPod and say something funny like, "it makes me feel powerful." While that ad certainly can be affective (and funny and charming) for the consumer it frankly smacks of the kind of adolescent tonality the Mac has always been too famous for...and why the Mac has always treaded uphill in every single business market it ever busted into -- with the possible exception of desktop publishing.

It' a Matter of Diminished Capacity

What Apple needs in order to succeed again in any vertical industry is very straightforward and simple. They need to demonstrate that to not be on the Macintosh is to operate in a diminished capacity as a professional. Whether a professional architect, lawyer, interior designer or engineer, they must make these people feel that not being on the Mac is putting them at a disadvantage professionally. That's harder to do than it sounds, of course. But there is a clear way in which to establish the criteria for a marketing strategy based on the concept of "diminished professional capacity". It's really a matter of psychology. The hard work is knowing when to ask for help, and that may be Apple's biggest problem. ----ANTHONY FRAUSTO, Founder and Editor

For thoughts and feedback you can reach me at [email protected]


Architosh Marketplace

MacroEnter. is a CAD/AEC/Design, networking and large format printing solutions integrator, serving business, government and education customers. Reseller of VectorWorks, Microspot, HP and Encad product lines.

CAD Garage. is an online store dedicated to Architects, Engineers, Builders, Designers and Mac enthusiasts featuring ArchiCAD, formZ, Piranesi, Cinema 4D, HP and more product lines.

Lim Consultants, Inc. provides creative architects with practical solutions while incorporating cutting edge technology, pushing the art of structural engineering to new levels of excellence.

Place your text ad here and reach thousands of professionals each month for very affordable prices. (contact: [email protected])

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?

Macworld Expo San Francisco 2006

MWSF: CAD Industry Puts Positive Spin on Apple-Intel Partnerships and New Mactels - [17 Jan] Hot!

MWSF: VersaCAD and TurboCAD at Macworld - Updated Notes from the Show Floor - [17 Jan]

MWSF: VectorWorks Plays Role in Swiss 'Inventioneering Architecture' Exhibit - [17 Jan]

MWSF: SketchUp Used in Golden Globe Award Nominated Film - [17 Jan]

MWSF: Architosh's Expo Photos 1 - [14 Jan]

MWSF: Architosh's Expo Photos 2 - [14 Jan]

MWSF: Architosh's Expo Photos 3 - [14 Jan]

MWSF: Architosh's Expo Photos 4 - [14 Jan]

MWSF: Architosh's Expo Photos 5 - [14 Jan]

MWSF: SketchUp News at Macworld Expo - [13 Jan]

MWSF: AEC Software Industry Highlights - [11 Jan]

MWSF: Jobs' Keynote - The Highlights 4 - [11 Jan]

MWSF: Jobs' Keynote - The Highlights 3 - [11 Jan]

MWSF: Jobs' Keynote - The Highlights 2 - [10 Jan]

MWSF: Jobs' Keynote - The Highlights - [10 Jan]

Latest Features & News

Mac CAD: ArchiCAD meets structural design - [27 Jan]

Mac CAD: Microspot Interiors v.3.6 now shipping - [27 Jan]

AEC News: Adobe announces Acrobat 3D - [23 Jan] Hot!

Adobe talks to Architosh about Acrobat 3D and the Mac - [23 Jan] Hot!

Acrobat 3D: Methods of 3D Data Integration - [23 Jan]

Architosh to publish 'double-issue' ToshLetter in February - [19 Jan]

Mac CAD: VectorWorks user wins Miami Monument International Design Competition - [19 Jan]

Mac CAD: Free VectorWorks 12 Viewer Now Available - [4 Jan]

Tidbits: Mac CAD/3d/AEC news - PandaWare, SIGGRAPH and Quad Mac Rendering Support - [4 Jan]

Intel's new logo revealed - good enough for Apple's new computers? - [3 Jan]

2006: Intel Betting on Apple in Digital Home Convergence? - [30 Dec] Hot!

Apple Developers Ready for Intel - Possible New Macs at Macworld Expo - [30 Dec] Hot!

Apple Adds More Online Seminars for Architects - [29 Dec] Hot!

Mac CAD: First CAD Developer Announces Upcoming Support for Intel Macs with Current Product Version - [21 Dec]

Mac GIS: OpenOSX announces "Grass WorkFlow Pro" - [20 Dec]

Apple Seminar: Working with Autocad DWG on the Mac - [20 Dec] Hot!

Macworld Prediction: Apple to come out with new Pod Studio - [16 Dec] Hot!

Mac 3d: RenderCore's RenMan Client for Mac OS X in development - [16 Dec] Hot!

Mac 3d: New photorealistic scenary rendering software for Mac OS X - Terragen 2 Technology Preview - [16 Dec]

Mac 3d: Dosch 3D Ships Set Sail - [14 Dec]

CS Odessa updates ConceptDraw V for Mac OS X - [14 Dec]

AEC News: Web-based Project Management software for Mac OS X - Copper 2005 - [14 Dec]

Mac 3d: What comes after NURBS? Modeling the Future - [13 Dec] Hot!

First Technical Drawing Program Readied for Upcoming Intel-based Macs - [8 Dec] Hot!

Mac 3d: Nemetschek N. A. releases free SketchUp plugin for VectorWorks - [6 Dec]

Mac CAD: VectorWorks 12 Training CDs Now Available - [5 Dec]

Mac CAD: ArchiCAD Seminar in Boston Area - [5 Dec]

Apple's Global Architecture Resources Grow - [1 Dec] Hot!

Mac 3d: EVOQUE launches "solidThinking Live" - new web training program - [28 Nov]

Apple Sales this Holiday Quarter and Special Friday Event - [23 Nov]

Mac 3d: Adobe and Cinema 4D Breakfast Event in Sweden - [23 Nov]

Mac CAD: VectorWorks Users win AIA-NYC and AIA-NYS Design Awards - [22 Nov]

Tidbits: CAD and 3d roundup - SOM and SketchUp, Alex, and MaxonForm - [21 Nov]

Mac CAD: HighDesign 1.6 released - dozens of improvements - [17 Nov]

Commentary: Virtualization from Intel in future Macs and the Art of Fast User Switching - [16 Nov]

Tidbits: Mac AEC News on the Web - ATI, ProjectWizards update and more... - [15 Nov]

ATI introduces world's fastest graphics card - [11 Nov]

Wrap-up: Mac CAD - Graphisoft Honored with Wall Street Journal Award and more... - [11 Nov]

Technology Behind Apple's Rosetta Wins Wall Street Journal 2005 Technology Award - [11 Nov]

Mac 3d: Alias Introduces 'Design MasterClasses' - [11 Nov]

Mac 3d: Pixar debuts RenderMan for Maya - [9 Nov]

Tidbits: Apple patent shows company possibly preparing for OS War - [8 Nov]

Architosh Ships First Issue of ToshLetter™ - [4 Nov]

ArchiCAD Gets 'Sketchy' with new SketchUp Integration - [1 Nov]

Mac CAD: Nemetschek NA ships VectorWorks 12 - [1 Nov]

Apple Fixes Missing Graphics Card on e Store - [28 Oct]

Mac 3d: Cheetah 3D 2.5 released, new Javascript Parametrics - [28 Oct]

Wrap-Up: Mac CAD/3D news on the Web - Cheetah, Adobe-UGS, ArchiCAD and more... - [28 Oct]

Mac CAD: ArchiCAD 9 Seminar in Providence, Rhode Island - [26 Oct]

Mac 3D: Pixar to announce Third Quarter 2005 Earnings, November 8th - [26 Oct]

New Power Mac G5 Quad Garners Industry Buzz - [21 Oct] Hot!

Quad Supercharges Rendering by 200 Plus Percent: a modo reaction - [21 Oct]

New Nvidia Workstation Option, When it Matters - [21 Oct]

The New Power Mac G5s - Initial Thoughts - [21 Oct]

Mac CAD: True Workstation Graphics Finally Arrive on the Macintosh - [21 Oct]

Mac CAD: Share Utility - How to share Ashlar-Vellum Files, both Old and New - [18 Oct]

Frank Lloyd Wright's Massaro House Presentation Available - Architect Talks up Working on Macintosh Platform - [17 Oct]

Mac CAD: Ashlar-Vellum translates 'Graphite' into Japanese - [17 Oct]

Mac CAD: Nemetschek announces VectorWorks 12 Product Line - [13 Oct]

Mac CAD: Graphisoft Scores Firm Win in California - [7 Oct]

SketchUp News: @Last Software Previews New "Grizzly" at 3D Base Camp - [6 Oct] Hot!

Mac CAD: TouchCAD 3.5 Becomes "Touchable" At Last - [5 Oct]

High Impact: Autodesk to acquire Alias - what does it mean? - [5 Oct] Hot!

Exclusive Interview: Architosh Talks to Graphisoft US VP Don R. Henrich II - [4 Oct] Hot!

Special Series: Apple-Intel Transition to be Positive for CAD/CAID/AEC Developers and Their Users - [4 Oct] Hot!

Architosh Show Reports Index - [4 Oct]

Architosh introduces ToshLetter™ a new industry newsletter focused on Mac CAD/3D industries - [30 Sep] Hot!

Mac 3D: e-frontier's new Shade 8 modeling and rendering program - [28 Sep]

Mac CAD: Ashlar-Vellum releases Graphite service pack 2 - [28 Sep]

Mac 3D: Maxwell plugin for SketchUp on Mac - [27 Sep]

Mac 3D: Alias ships MotionBuilder 7 PLE - [27 Sep]

Tidbits: Mac 3d and CAD news - SketchUp, Maxwell, EIAS, Softimage - [27 Sep]

VectorWorks User Wins Venice Biennale's International Design Competition - [20 Sep]

New Mac Firm Management Software Tool for Architects and Engineers - PSA Scorecard - [16 Sep]

ForumTalk: Macintosh CAD Discussion - PowerCADD, BOA for Mac OS X Roadmap, Piranesi and more... - [16 Sep]

Macintosh World Gains New Engineering CAD Tool with IMSI TurboCAD 3D Mac - [14 Sep]

Mac 3d: T-Splines 1.0 plugin for Alias Maya now available - [14 Sep]

Mac CAD/3D: SketchUp at Apple Expo, formZ News and MacroEnter Fall CAD Specials - [13 Sep]

CAD News: IntelliCAD 6.1 announced, IMSI TurboCAD 3D for Mac OS X listed on Academic Software Store - [9 Sep]

Mac 3D: Cheetah 3D 2.4 now available - [8 Sep]

Press Release: Architosh to launch new industry newsletter with focus on Macintosh CAD/3D professionals and software developers - [2 Sep]

Wrap-Up: Mac CAD/3D News on the Web - VectorWorks, Entourage Arts, CADtools, and more... - [2 Sep]

Mac CAD: Hot Door Adds CAD Power to Familiar Adobe Illustrator Application - [2 Sep]

Mac 3D: Entourage Arts Announces New Landscape Collections, Tap Power of SketchUp 5 - [2 Sep]

Mac CAD: French Developers Push BOA Towards OS X Version, US Website Closes - [29 Aug] Hot!

Mac CAD: ArchiCAD Presentation (Live Webcast) on Frank Lloyd Wright 'Massaro' House - Modeled and Documented on the Macintosh - [26 Aug] Hot!

ForumTalk: Macintosh CAD Topics - Wind Modeling in 3D, Chinese Characters in VectorWorks and TurboCAD - [26 Aug]

Mac CAD: Boston AIA VectorWorks User Meeting to Feature Nemetschek Tech Session - [19 Aug] Hot!

Mac CAD/3d: VersaCAD/SketchUp Bundle Available from Archway Systems - [19 Aug]

Open Design Alliance Philosophy Promotes Proper Ownership of CAD Datat to Users, Not Software Companies - [19 Aug]

Mac CAD: TurboCAD Targets UK Market via new Mac OS X Product - [16 Aug]

Apple CAD: Apple Stores Targeting CAD Customers with more products - [16 Aug] Hot!

Macintosh CAD Weekly Wrapup: Nemetschek VectorWorks Training and More... - [12 Aug] Hot!

MidWeek Update: Mac CAD and 3D News: Apple VAR Focuses on CAD Store, ArchiCAD Nabs Award - [10 Aug]

Mac 3d: SketchUp News - 3D Base Camp - [10 Aug]

Graphisoft gets specific in satisfying customer's needs in ArchiCAD 9 Special Edition Library - [28 July]

Mac 3D: LightWork Design releases more accuracy in its range of GE Advanced Materials, Plastics - [28 July]

Autodesk Clears its Deck for Huge Upgrade - [28 July]

Pre-SIGGRAPH: "Kuriocity" by Luminetik Animation Studios to premier at SIGGRAPH - [25 July] Hot!

Gee...tiny pictures of documents themselves in lieu of icons, who would have thunk it possible with Windows Vista? - [25 July]

OS Wars: New Windows Vista name announced, users cry Longhorn already five years behind - [25 July]

Mac CAD: Apple grows market share, various indices show Apple gaining back biz customers in AEC - [20 July] Hot!

Wrap-up: Mac CAD/3d news on the Web - SketchUp 5, Vue 5 Infinite, Ashlar-Vellum and more.. - [15 July]

Mac CAD: Nemetschek updates VectorWorks to v11.5.1 - [15 July]

Apple Earnings: Examines Implications of Apple's Earnings Report - [15 July]

SketchUp is Finally Elaborated Into SketchUp 5, New Training Tour Announced - [14 July] Hot!

Mac 3d: Ashlar Delays Release of the V7 Builds, Company Builds Much Anticipation - [14 July]

Mac 3d: NewTek and E-On Unleash their priced Duo: Vue 5 Infinite & LightWave 3D - [14 July] Hot!

Freshly released version 7.9 Creative Manager Pro Expands Borders - [13 July]

In Brief: Wentworth Institute of Technology gets "Vectorized" on the Macintosh - [12 July]

In Brief: Pixar to announce Second Quarter Earnings, August 4th, during SIGGRAPH week - [8 July]

Commentary: New dual-core Power Macs timed for Apple's Return to SIGGRAPH - [8 July]

Commentary: IBM announces new dual-core G5 - [8 July]

Wrap-up: Mac CAD/3d news on the web: VectorWorks prize, Maxwell, ArchiCAD and more - [8 July]

Mac CAD: Graphisoft adds 'industry-first' integrated organic modeling to Virtual Building technology - [8 July]

Mac CAD: VectorWorks Design Competition Grand Prize Winner Announced - [8 July]

Mac 3d: Maxwell is new photo-realistic rendering program for Mac OS X users - [7 July] Hot!

Home > Features > News

support our advertisers



NBC on iTunes





  | Corrections | About Architosh | Awards & Press Reaction |
| Site Map |

Privacy Notice | Contact Us | How to Advertise | Corporate Sponsorship |
Copyright © 1999 - 2006. BritasMedia Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Architosh™ and the ToshLetter™ are trademarks of BritasMedia™