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

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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.

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The new Parallels 10 offers the following performance improvements:

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Opinion: Seven reasons why the IBM partnership could be a pretty big deal for Apple

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Wall Street seemed pretty unmoved by Apple’s announcement of its partnership with IBM, the pre-market share price barely twitching, and analysts pointing to the high level of existing iOS usage in the enterprise sector, suggesting that only trivial gains would result.

Part of the reason for that impression is the hype Apple has given to the penetration level of  iOS devices in enterprise. Back in January, Tim Cook described the numbers as “unbelieveable,” stating that the iPhone is used in 97 percent and of Fortune 500 companies and the iPad in 98 percent.

It doesn’t sound from these impressive figures that there’s much room for growth. But I think the reality is somewhat different …  Read more

Parallels Access remote access app jumps from iPad to iPhone, gains Finder-like functionality

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The name Parallels is synonymous with software for running the Windows OS on a Mac, but over the past couple of years, the company has turned into so much more. Last year, we reviewed Parallels Access, an application for the Apple iPad that allows the iPad to serve as a conduit for remotely accessing either a Mac or Windows machine. In our review, we noted how blown away we were with the speed and performance of Parallels Access. The software makes accessing and using a computer via the iPad’s touchscreen a breeze, and it provides a huge convenience factor for those times when you need to access something on your home computer but do not have the machine with you.

The application is far and above other remote desktop client applications because of its integration with iOS, OS X, Windows, its speed, and its overall reliability. Parallels Access utilizes gestures, iOS’s native keyboard with autocorrect and editing, “SmartMagnification” and “SmartTap” to make the computer feel responsive and alive on the iPad’s display. The application allows you to use your Mac swiftly and connects over the internet. Now, Parallels is bringing the Parallels Access experience to the smaller screen of the iPhone. In some ways, since it is not a computer replacement like an iPad is for some people, the iPhone feels like a more logical device for using Parallels Access…

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Apple’s annual Back to School promotion likely kicking off at end of June

Retro Apple Store Back to School display

Retro Apple Store Back to School display

Apple could be planning to launch its annual Back to School sales promotion within the next two weeks. Apple Stores, according to several employees, will be changing the front of store glass window displays overnight on June 30th. This is the usual timeframe in which Apple launches a promotion to boost Mac, iPad, and iPhone sales in anticipation of the new school year in the fall.

Last year, the Back to School promotion consisted of $100 App Store gift cards for Mac purchases and $50 cards for iPad and iPhone purchases by students with their Student IDs. Of course, this June 30th window change could be connected to another promotion or a new product, but based on the timing, the Back to School program being in the wings seems most likely.

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Slingshot app lets you share your iOS screen with others on any platform

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I’ve written about apps from Squirrels in the past. It makes the AirParrot and Reflection apps that let you mirror your Mac or PC screen to an Apple TV or your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch screen to a Mac or PC. Today it’s launching a new product that utilizes technology from both of those previous apps called ‘Slingshot.’ The cross-platform apps let you share your iOS screen with others on iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, or Android, and provides some slick collaboration tools in the process: Read more

Opinion: Why the upgrade cycle means the ‘Apple tax’ is lower than it seems

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value …  Read more

Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

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When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

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A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more

PC Market exodus continues as LG considers quitting, Mac prices & margins leave Apple almost immune

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PC manufacturers seem to be dropping like flies at present. Shortly after Sony confirmed it was selling its PC business and Vaio brand, LG is rumored to be planning its own exit from traditional PCs, to focus on smartphones, tablets and ‘convertible’ PCs (touchscreen Windows tablets that flip round into a laptop).

Other manufacturers are witnessing falling sales, prices and profits – with The Guardian calculating that the average profit per PC in the third quarter of 2013 fell to just £14.87 ($24.09). One manufacturer of conventional-format PCs, however, has remained almost immune to the trend: Apple …  Read more

Microsoft names Satya Nadella CEO as Bill Gates demoted from Chairman to ‘Technology Advisor’

Following the announcement last August that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was out the door as soon as the company could find a new captain to lead the ship, the Board finally announced today that it has found its guy: Satya Nadella.

As part of the changes, founder and former CEO Bill Gates has agreed to step down from the Board and into a new role as ‘technology advisor’. Gates says he will step up his time at the company meeting with various groups and helping with future products at the request of Nadella. Read more

Total Apple device sales will equal Windows PCs this year, predicts analyst

total

The total number of Apple devices sold will equal the number of Windows PCs by some point this year, predicts Asymco’s Horace Dediu in an interesting piece of analysis.

The dark shaded area compares all Apple hardware – Mac plus iPad plus iPhone – with Windows PCs, and shows that by last year there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices. It’s of course a somewhat artificial comparison, as Dediu is including iPhones while excluding Windows Phones and tablets, but given the very limited success of Windows mobile devices to date, correcting that wouldn’t change the patterns too much.

What’s particularly interesting here, as John Gruber notes, is that the dramatic reversal kicked in well before the launch of the iPhone. Dediu and Gruber between them put forward a number of theories for this, and of these I think three are likely key …

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Macupdate’s $40 Winter Bundle: 12 apps incl. Anonymizer, Backblaze, Expandrive, much more

From 9to5toys:

(note: 3 other bundles are currently running: Parallels 9 Adobe Photoshop CC $10 extended unti l Dec. 8th and Stack Social)

MacUpdate just launched their Winter Mac app bundle this morning. This bundle contains 10 apps + 2 bonus apps for early buyers. Together, the 12 apps are worth nearly $400 (or about $360 without the 2 bonus titles), but the bundle is priced at just $39.99.

The bundle includes: Read more