I agree that the App paradigm is a natural and likely far easier way to customize and extend a tool for particular individual's workflow, design preferences, etc. While Autodesk officials would not confirm they'd be adding similar App Tab functionality to Inventor or other offerings within their software family, I think it's pretty clear that this is a trial balloon. AutoCAD has the bigger user base with a more extended third-party developer ecosystem so it makes sense to test the model there, then expand it if it resonates with users.
The use of Apps is a great way to allow designers to make their own choices in customizing a major software package to their individual needs. Putting in a convenient familiar format will help to ensure its use.
I agree with Beth, I think any "App" will have more widespread use quicker and by more users if the price is so low, justification isn't necessary. It then becomes beneficial to get User input on the App's usefulness through the use of the "star" system.
That's a good question, TJ, and one I don't think they mentioned. I'd be curious to know this as well as it would make a lot of sense. My guess is that these Apps will be priced perhaps slightly more than consumer Apps, but still far, far below the cost of traditional desktop applications. In that sense, perhaps the thinking is the price tag is too low for any kind of try before you buy scenario.
I'd be down with Apps Stores doing quality control if that's really what they did, but we all really know that Apple just uses the submission process to make developers' lives miserable. AutoCAD, OTOH, seems to be reaching out to developers in a good way (Their historic misery is if you ever wanted to transfer your license to anyone. But I digress.) I think building up developer and partner ecosystems is always a good thing, and for a solid app like AutoCAD -- it's so all-encompassing that the word "app" almost seems to diminish it -- I say, go for it.
I think AutoCAD and Inventor, for that matter, have long benefitted from a developer ecosystem, as you point out, Rob. With the introduction of an "Apps store" like function and with the potential of third-party developers, both current partners and new ones, building all sorts of capabilities to enhance the digital prototyping experience, the possibilities are endless. I wonder, however, how many engineers buy into this notion of design tool Apps on devices like mobile phones and tablets. Or is this an example of trying to stay current with trends, but putting the cart before the horse?
I can understand quality issues as AutoCAD applications proliferate. Yet the upside of bringing in new partners with new innovations has to be a big plus. The whole notion of encouraging the growth of an ecosystem of developers around a popular product is proving to deliver real value in the mobile device world. AutoCAD users may really benefit from its own developer ecosystem.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.