Yes, a native Mac 2D & 3D AutoCAD application utilizing the Mac experience, but still being the tried and true AutoCAD. Now AutoCAD users have a choice of two great platforms Windows and Mac to get their native AutoCAD DWG. You also have much of your customization you rely on such as LISP and Scripts.
From the native Mac User Interface elements such as Menubar to the integration of Cover flow support in Finder to visually scroll through your DWG file previews, multi-touch gestures, making use of the trackpad (love it), search Help and you get a pointer to the location of the command in the Menubar, and even searching for DWG files using Spotlight this is Mac.
This is a Mac experience and AutoCAD 2011 combined, not some Windows application just ported without consideration of the workflow, environment, and Mac user expectations.
This project was no simple project, we had to work with14 millions lines of code with technology dependencies to be more platform agnostic. The AutoCAD for Mac was a complete re-write and not a simple port or a LT version. We used the native Aqua User Interface standards on all non-custom interface elements and the underlying code is Cocoa for the Mac OSX and iOS platforms.
Our team had to immerse in the Mac world and learn from the Mac experts worldwide to make sure we understood what they would want and need as well as keeping the power of AutoCAD. It is not everyday you expect to see hardcore programmers in black turtleneck shirts and denim pants, but I am sure it happened. There was a delicate balance that took a great deal of work to accomplish. I am sure it will be an ongoing process as we begin to add more and more features for parity between platforms yet keep the individual character and UI experience unique.
Having mentioned the uniqueness of each platform, the challenges and work involved, there is also one more powerful component and that is AutoCAD. Chances are if you have used AutoCAD, you can use the AutoCAD for Mac with very little training or changes. It saves the same DWG as the Windows versions, so you can have people in a mixed platform working on the same DWG files. It also jhas LISP, a command line, UCS, Osnaps, constraints, parametrics, surfaces, meshes, solids, rendering, Visual Styles, rendering, ViewCube navigation, and more just as you would expect of AutoCAD.
When will it ship? In the fall 2010 and after successful completion of the pre-release beta testing by thousands of Mac using customers and students. It will hopefully be ready for students in Fall classes and needing a free student version of native AutoCAD for Mac from the Autodesk Student Community http://students.autodesk.com. There will be a non educational version as well including a trial download.
AutoCAD WS extends AutoCAD DWG to Apple iOS based devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and of course the iPad. This is like the Autodesk Labs Project Butterfly but on my Apple hardware. I have to say this is really nice to be able to edit and view DWG files on both my iPhone and iPad. http://butterfly.autodesk.com/mobile/
Where to find more information?
(both a Mac & Windows user)