So what I am seeing is that the output is very similar, but there are differences.
I notice AI making some corners into curves, where CD does not.
I notice the AI file looks cleaner on my “5K” mac screen, although it is a much larger file…
which leads me to notice that I am comparing a PNG to a JPG. D’oh.
So what needs to happen is for us to use one fixed source image, one fixed output size, and one fixed file format, and we need to see and evaluate the results between AI, CD, and IS. I know that Ai has several auto-tracing presets, and I would think that CD and IS do as well. So seeing the same image, at the same size, in the same final format, from a variety of presets, from a variety of programs, and with no additional cleanup, would be very enlightening.
Granted, auto-trace is not everything, not by a long shot. Most often, in fact, I see it used to steal other people’s images (and cut logos for things that they do not have the rights for). Still, for those who are thinking about purchasing an expensive software suite, or having trouble deciding between MAC/PC for a new design computer, this could be quite helpful.