Following yesterday’s launch of the new Parallels Access program, which allows you to run desktop apps on your iPad almost as well as if they were native, Parallels this morning launched the latest version of their popular virtual machine app: Parallels Desktop 9! The latest version adds a healthy dose of new features, and makes it even easier to run Windows and other operating systems on your Mac.
New features in Parallels Desktop 9 include full OS X Mavericks support, support for Windows 8.1/Windows Blue, the ability to use Apple’s Power Nap feature with Windows apps, the ability to automatically sync cloud services (such as Dropbox and Google Drive, or even iCloud) between virtual machines, and much more.
Here’s a summary of the most significant new features:
- Indispensable conveniences. It’s what you expect from Parallels Desktop, where things “just work.” This time, we brought Power Nap and the Dictionary gesture to Windows applications.
- Mac gestures inside Windows apps: Parallels Desktop now includes the addition of the Dictionary lookup gesture in Windows applications.
- Performance. We continue to push the envelope for industry-leading performance.
- Custom keyboard: Editable keyboard shortcuts help customize the Windows experience
- Cloud. We know your stuff lives everywhere, not just on your hard drive. So we’ve made it easy to work with iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive — from either your Mac or your Windows virtual machine — without duplicating files locally!
- PDF printer for Windows. Lets people print from any Windows application to a PDF on the Mac desktop, even if the application doesn’t have that functionality
- Peace of mind. We’re keeping pace with the ever-evolving Mac and Windows. Want to use OS X Mavericks and Windows 8.1? They’ll work with Parallels Desktop 9.
New features aside (and there are plenty), the app is also significantly faster than Parallels 8, and includes significantly improved performance when gaming or performing processor-intensive tasks in Windows. It’s also faster and performs better all around, as illustrated in these highlights from the Parallels PR team:
- 40 percent better disk performance.
- Virtual machines shut down and suspend up to 25 percent faster.
- 3D graphics, web browsing, and processor-intensive tasks are up to 15 percent faster.
Parallels Desktop 9 is available immediately to existing users as a $50 upgrade, and those who purchased Parallels 8 on or after August 15 are eligible to upgrade for free! The app will become available for all users on September 5th. Parallels Desktop 8 will be available for $80, with a $40 student version also available. If you upgrade today, you’ll also get s FREE 6 month subscription to Parallels Access!
If you’re new to Parallels, I’d highly recommend purchasing Parallels 8 now and taking advantage of the free upgrade – two versions for the price of one! If you already use Parallels 8, click here to buy your discounted upgrade! We plan to have a full review of the software ready by the official launch date on September 5th.