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AutoCAD comes back to the Mac

Autodesk, proprietor of popular 2D/3D design software AutoCAD, is about to bring AutoCAD back to the Mac after a nearly two decade estrangement. AutoCAD is to engineering and architecture design what Photoshop is to photo editing, so this is a Pretty Big Deal.

Like many software makers (and users), Autodesk bailed on the Mac platform during the early 1990s, at least as far as AutoCAD is concerned. Since then, it's been one of the biggest of the big names in software absent from the OS X platform and one of the few things Windows evangelists could point to and say, "Yeah, well Macs can't run that!" Starting in October, your Mac will run AutoCAD, as long as you're willing to pay around $4000 for it (the same price as the PC version).

Not only that, Autodesk is reportedly working on an iOS version of AutoCAD as well. AutoCAD WS will be a free download from the App Store and will run on iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. Naturally you won't get the same functionality out of the free app that you will out of the $4000 Mac software; while the mobile version will be able to view AutoCAD files generated on PCs or Macs, don't expect to be able to make more than very minor alterations on an iPad. Still, as the New York Times notes, carrying around blueprints on a svelte electronic device like an iPad beats schlepping big rolls of paper around on a job site.

Welcome back to the Mac, AutoCAD!

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