Review: Parallels Desktop 10 brings even tighter OS X/Windows integration, overall performance improvements

2014-08-26 08-59-52 2014-08-26 09-00-07Last week, Parallels launched the upgrade to v10 of their software and today, you can now get the full version online.

Parallels Desktop has long been one of the go-to applications for using your Mac to virtualize a wide variety of operating systems, and many considered its previous version 9 as more than sufficient for getting this job done. While the software shining point has always been its ability to run Windows truly parallel to the standard Mac OS X desktop, this version of Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac takes multiple strides forward, making it even easier than before to incorporate Windows-only applications—or applications from other x86 operating systems including Android, Chrome, Linux, etc.—into your Mac-based workflow.

Perhaps most importantly, Parallels again ups the ante in speed both in launching and runtime, turning virtualization into a native-feeling experience.

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Parallels Desktop 10 announced with support for Yosemite, iCloud Drive, and much more

Parallels-Desktop-10

Parallels Desktop has been with the Mac almost as long as it has run on Intel hardware.

Today, the company announced the 10th major release of its industry-leading virtualization software for Macintosh and mobile. It has more of what makes Parallels so special: Performance, integration and features.

Parallels has an important place in Apple history because it allowed many people who needed a few Windows applications over the last decade to buy and enjoy the Mac OS. In effect, it helped deal with Microsoft’s monopoly on software in the desktop era.

For many people that continues today. Microsoft still makes its Office suite a little bit handicapped on the Mac. Gamers know that to get a wider variety of games you need to run Windows. Developers need different environments, browsers and OSes to test their software on. And, probably most painful, many companies still require Windows to run proprietary apps or connect to antiquated network servers.

Speaking of Windows, Microsoft has made it harder for Parallels to integrate the Windows installation so you’ll have to do it yourself from with a Optical media or a USB port.  In v9 of Parallels, you could buy the image from Microsoft and then install from an image in a matter of minutes.

PDupgrade_dock

The new Parallels 10 offers the following performance improvements:

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Parallels Desktop 9: Noticeably faster, smarter setup and ready for Mavericks and Windows 8.1 [Review]

With over 90% market share in Mac desktop virtualization software (according to NPD), Parallels is the clear leader in the industry. Now, Parallels has introduced Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac, bringing in new features, improving performance, and preparing for Mavericks and Windows 8.1. How does this version stack up? Is it worth the price? Read on to find out.

Performance

parallels desktop 9

With the software at its ninth version, some may be content with their version of Parallels and think the upgrade isn’t worth the price. However, as a previous PD8 (and all the way back to PD3), allow me to be straight-forward: this upgrade gives the biggest noticeable performance boost ever. The company claims the updated software provides 40% better disk performance, 25% faster virtual machine shutdown times, 20% faster virtual machine suspend times, and 15% faster web browsing and 3D graphics. Read more

Parallels announces Parallels Desktop 9: performance improvements, enhanced Windows support, more

Right after releasing its new remote access application Access, Parallels has just announced Parallels Desktop 9 for the Mac. The updated application will support Mavericks and the upcoming Windows Blue/8.1 update and boasts many speed boosts.

Performance improvements with Parallels Desktop 9 are notable – “40 percent improvement in disk performance; virtual machine startup and shutdown are now up to 25 percent faster; and customers can suspend their virtual machines in up to 20 percent less time than before. 3D  graphics and web-browsing were also made noticeably speedier with up to 15 percent improvements for both.”

The company has also brought Power Nap to Windows applications. They’ve also introduced synced cloud services between virtual machines, which means you only have one version on your computer and all virtual machines access the same cloud files.

Pricing

PD 7 or 8 customers will be able to grab this update for $49.99 starting today (download link will be sent immediately). The full version will be available September 5 and remains $79.99 with students paying just $39.99. In addition, the software will come with a free 6-month subscription to Parallels Access ($39.99 value).

We’ll have a complete review of Parallels Desktop 9 when the full version is released on September 5. Press release below: Read more

Parallels’ new iPad app ‘Access’ makes your Mac apps feel like native iOS apps [Review]

Parallels Access App Switcher

For years, there have been iPad applications that allow remote access to your Mac from anywhere in the world. Parallels Mobile, for example, was launched back in 2011 and allowed you to view your Mac and Windows virtual machines on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (and later discontinued). But these apps have always been a huge turn-off for the majority of users, since OS X isn’t built for touch screens. Trying to press small buttons, editing text, scrolling through pages and other flukes have made it impossible to use your Mac from an iOS device for an extended amount of time.

But now, Parallels has solved all of these problems and more with the new Parallels Access, their new service that makes it a breeze to connect to your Mac from an iPad and access all of your files and applications in a way that makes all of your apps feel like iOS apps – it “applifies” your Windows/Mac apps.

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Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac hits Amazon Germany and MacMall US with purported September 5th delivery date

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.39.08 AM

Cat’s out of the bag? It appears that Parallels is preparing an update to their award-winning virtualization software for Mac.  Amazon Germany has a pre-order page up with Parallels Desktop 9 artwork and an expected delivery date of September 5th. Having a quick look around, it appears you can also order it now in the US at MacMall/PCM for $74.99 shipped:

A variety of other retailers appear to be getting units in stock after a quick Google search of manufacturer part PDFM9L-BX1-EN-NT. The September 5th release date would seem to fit into Parallels’ schedule. Previous releases were:

  • Parallels 8 – Released on September 4, 2012
  • Parallels 7 – Released on September 6, 2011
  • Parallels 6 – Released on September 14, 2010
  • Parallels 5 – Released on November 4, 2009

Parallels allows Mac Users to run Virtual machines of Windows, other instances of Mac OS, Linux, Android and just about every other Intel-based OSes out there inside of Mac OS. Likely updates this time around would probably include OSX 10.9 Mavericks and Windows 8/.1 compatibility improvements.

Parallels has traditionally allowed users who’ve bought within 2 weeks of  release a free upgrade to the new version but no such policy has yet been announced for this version. (Update: Here’s Parallels Tech Guarantee saying if you buy after August 15th (now) you are covered for a free upgrade when V9 comes out.)  If you are interested in purchasing Parallels now (and it is a GREAT product), we recommend downloading a free 30-day trial of Parallels Desktop 8 which would conclude after the above early September update, guaranteeing you wouldn’t need to pay extra for an update to v9.

If Parallels 9 is indeed coming out soon, you can bet we’ll have a full review of the product and/or any iOS accessory products, should such products exist, as soon as they are available.

  • Parallels 8 – Released on September 4, 2012
  • Parallels 7 – Released on September 6, 2011
  • Parallels 6 – Released on September 14, 2010
  • Parallels 5 – Released on November 4, 2009

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Apple Stores to push Macs to businesses with new Parallels/Windows 8 demos

Parallels Desktop 7 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on a MacBook Air

Apple is pushing its business-focused Apple Retail salespeople to sell Macs to businesses currently running in Windows environments, according to Apple retail employees briefed on the new initiative. Apple Retail Stores, in their business/professional sections, will now have a 27-inch iMac prepared with the Parallels Virtualization Software and Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

Select Apple Retail employees will also be trained on the Parallels and Windows software, and special Parallels demos have been created for Apple Stores. The goal of this new initiative is to push employees to be able to show businesses that currently work on Windows that all purposes of Windows could either be replaced or used (with Parallels) on a Mac computer.

For a number of years, Apple has pushed reasons how a Mac could replace a PC. This was heralded mainly via Apple’s Mac vs. PC ads. This new retail campaign, instead, focuses on the Mac operating system and Windows working together. Apple wants to leave no room for business customers to not know that they could switch to a Mac computer…

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Parallels 8 for Mac updated with experimental support for OS X Mavericks

Mavericks as Guest OS

Parallels announced an update to Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac today that introduces experimental support for OS X Mavericks. That means developers with access to Mavericks will be able to run Parallels Desktop 8 on the OS and also install the OS X 10.9 preview in a virtual machine.

The company has an article available to walk devs through getting Desktop 8 for Mac running on Mavericks and another outlining best practices for installing it as a virtual machine. While you can’t yet install Mavericks into a blank virtual machine, you will be able to update an existing OS X install to the developer preview. Those error messages some users were getting when attempting to run Mavericks on Parallels Desktop 8 should also be taken care of with the latest build.

Parallels hinted more news about Mavericks and its integration with Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac is on the way and is answering questions in its forums here and here.

Good news if you don’t yet own a copy: Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac is currently 25% for a limited time. Read more

Parallels 8 updated with USB 3.0 support, Windows 8 tablet gestures, more

Parallels introduced a big update today for Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac. It includes new features for Windows 8 users, full USB 3.0 support, and improved Retina display settings. On top of support for Windows 8 tablet gestures, Parallels is including a Windows 8 tile that allows users to access shared Mac apps. According to Parallels, the update also includes faster USB 3.0 performance, an increased limit for virtual machines running large apps, and “Smooth transitions when entering and exiting Coherence mode”:

Now Mac users can enjoy new features including Windows 8 tablet gestures and use a Windows 8 interface tile to access shared Mac apps.  These updates, plus the already deep Parallels Desktop 8 integration of Mac OS X and Windows 8, enable people to also use Mountain Lion’s Dictation feature in Windows applications, add Windows apps to Launchpad and the Mac Dock, enjoy brilliant Retina display resolution for Windows apps and more – making Parallels Desktop 8 an ideal way to run Windows 8 on a Mac without rebooting. Read more

MacTech declares Parallels 7 the Virtualization performance champ on the Mac

Windows/Linux Virtualization on the Mac is mostly a 3 player game these days. You have the open source/free VirtualBox that was purchased by Oracle as part of its Sun acquisition two years ago. It is a basic emulator which works as a get what you pay for kind of basic functionality solution. Oracle isn’t big on free Open Source products so don’t expect it to get a lot better any time soon.

That leaves the two big players, Parallels and VMware Fusion. Both companies recently released updates to their software and both can now virtualize another instance of Mac OS X (great for developers who need to test their apps on older software or users who need applications that require Rosetta for instance). MacTech did a comprehensive set of Benchmarks and came away with a clear speed winner.

In almost every test, the $79 Parallels 7 beat the $49 VMware Fusion in speed (as you can see from the graphic above).

In the vast majority of overall our tests, Parallels Desktop 7 won. Again, if you count up the general tests (including the top 3D graphics scores), Parallels won 60% of the tests by 10% or more. And, if you include all the tests where Parallels was at least 5% faster, as well as the balance of the 3DMark06 graphics tests, Parallels increased the lead further. In other words, Parallels Desktop 7 beat VMware Fusion 4.0.2 in 74.9% of the general tests we ran, and Parallels was double the speed or more in almost a quarter of the top-level tests.

VMware obviously has a larger install base in the Enterprise with a longer history of virtualization on the PC. However with benchmarks leaning heavily toward Parallels, some Mac-focused businesses may start to tip toward Parallels.

We’ll have an in-depth look at Parallels 7 coming up as well as a contest where we’ll be handing out a few interesting prizes including a MacBook Air. Stay Tuned!

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MacTech: Parallels smokes VMWare

We haven’t put the two head to head (been on Parallels exclusively for about a year personally), but the folks over at MacTech had a chance to run the latest versions of VMWare for Mac against Parallels 6 which was released just a few months ago (VMware Fusion 3.1.1 and Parallels Desktop 6.0.11828.615184)  It appears that Parallels is the winner in both general and 3D tests.

Parallels 6 is available in Box form ($63) or for immediate download.

Full results will be posted in MacTech magazine next month.  More below: Read more