Parallels 15 landed this week as a major new version of the Windows virtualization software for Mac. The latest update brings support for macOS Catalina, Apple’s next OS update for Mac coming later this fall, including support for features like Sidecar external display functionality with iPad and Apple Pencil. Parallels 15 also now uses Apple’s Metal API for improved graphics and DirectX 11 to allow compatibility with new CAD apps, PC games, and more.

Parallels announced the release of version 15 this week. One of the headlining features is the adoption of Apple’s Metal API and support for Microsoft DirectX 11. That means a host of CAD and CAM apps plus PC game titles are now an option for Mac users running Windows with Parallels that just couldn’t be supported before.

Now you can run graphic-intensive applications and games such as Autodesk 3ds Max 2020, Lumion, ArcGIS Pro, Master Series, FIFA 19, Age of Empires, Fallout 4 and more!

That makes Parallels 15 a huge deal for both gamers and graphics-intensive app users.

Further, the graphics improvements along with support for macOS Catalina mean that Parallels 15 will work with Apple’s upcoming external display feature, Sidecar, which leverages iPad and Apple Pencil to create a true second-display experience for your Mac at home or on the road. See the feature in action below:

Parallels 15 can also use macOS Catalina as a virtual machine in addition to being a host.

Parallels Desktop 15 can currently utilize macOS Catalina as a VM, with support for Catalina as a host operating system (OS) following its public release (expected in early fall 2019). Planned integrations include improved Sidecar support with processing of Apple Pencil tilt and double-tap, which can be used on programs such as CorelDRAW®, Corel®Painter® and Microsoft SketchPad among others.

Bluetooth LE support is another new feature that will bring compatibility with devices like Xbox controllers, Logitech peripherals, other devices that rely on the low energy wireless connection.

Bluetooth Low Energy support in Parallels Desktop 15 enables Xbox Controller, Logitech Craft, IRISPen and some IoT devices (such as smart home appliances and smart bands) to be used in a VM on a Mac. Supported platforms include Windows 10 and 8.1, Android and Linux with kernel 3.13 and newer. Shared Bluetooth driver is version 4.0.

Pro and Business versions of Parallels 15 include even more features including special support for vTPM and physical disks for the first time. This is something Parallels says has been highly requested from business customers.

Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac Pro Edition and Business Edition now feature a Virtual Platform Trusted Module (vTPM), a new virtual hardware to VM configuration required by Windows to enable additional security features. With a vTPM in highlysecure corporate environments, users can enable BitLocker in accordance with corporate group policies, use virtual smart cards, or enable a more secure version of Windows Hello PIN for improved security

Additionally, Parallels Desktop Pro Edition and Business Edition users can connect physical disks (both internal and external) to a VM as logically internal disk.

Parallels 15 and its support for macOS Catalina before release as well as new features like Sidecar on iPad with iOS 13 show just how forward-looking the VM software maker is right now.

Customers can also expect the experience using more advanced features like Coherence for mixing Windows apps with the macOS desktop experience to be easier to understand with this release.

Parallels 15 is available as an upgrade or new purchase for Home & Student, Pro, and Business Editions. Pricing starts at $50 for the Home & Student edition as an upgrade and runs $80 as a new purchase. The Pro version costs $50/year as an upgrade, with the Pro and Business Editions running $100/year for new subscriptions.

Check out another feature video below and the Parallels 15 landing page for more details:

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Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.