Parallels has released a major update to Parallels Desktop for Mac, the most popular solution for running virtual machines, primarily Microsoft Windows, on a Mac simultaneously with Mac applications. Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac adds support for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and Windows 8.
Version 8 has several changes which make Windows programs feel more a part of the OS X experience:
- Windows applications can use the full capability of the Retina display. Parallels claims that the highest-resolution Windows 8 system you can get is a Mac running Parallels.
- Parallels users can use the Smart Full Screen to allow Windows applications to use the entire Mac screen without the docks and other chrome.
- Mountain Lion notifications are [correction:] shown in Mountain Lion's Notification Center surfaced in Windows.
- Mountain Lion gestures like pinch, rotate and zoom, work in Windows.
- Mountain Lion dictation support works within Windows.
- Multiple Windows and Mac devices can now share Bluetooth connections
Parallels users can install and use Windows 8 like any other version. According to the company, over 300,000 customers have already downloaded one of the Windows 8 preview builds and installed them in Parallels. Eventually users will be able to buy, download and install Windows 8 from within Parallels.
Finally, to address the numerous web sites which require Internet Explorer, Parallels adds an "Open in IE" button to OS X Safari.
Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition has also been updated with version 8 features. Enterprise Edition adds network manageability to Parallels along with other features necessary for enterprises, like deployment tools, enhanced support and an all-inclusive subscription.
Version 8 is available now to existing customers as a $49.99 upgrade. Retail versions will be available on September 4. The full Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac has an MSRP of $79.99. Parallels Desktop 8 Switch to Mac Edition is MSRP at $99.99, and the Student Edition costs $39.99. The Switch to Mac Edition includes a high-speed transfer cable with a smart chip for migrating a Windows installation on a PC to a Parallels VM on a Mac. It also includes 2 hours of tutorial videos for Windows users. The Student Edition is a fully-featured version, for personal use only on a single-user machine. You must be a student or faculty member of an academic institution to qualify for purchase.