Following the release of Parallels Access on the iPad, the ninth version of Parallels for Mac has been announced. The popular Windows virtualization software has been updated with full support for OS X Mavericks and Windows Blue 8.1.
Besides performance upgrades, Parallels 9 features several new features, like integration with Power Nap in OS X. Windows users will rejoice that Parallels has brought back the old Start menu to Windows 8 as well.
“Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac customers will enjoy peace of mind knowing that Parallels keeps pace with and supports leading new technologies, such as the upcoming OS X Mavericks, Windows 8.1 and increasingly popular cloud services,” said Parallels CEO Birger Steen. “We thank our customers for appreciating our innovations and making Parallels Desktop for Mac the No. 1-selling software for running Windows on a Mac for seven years and counting.”
Some speed improvements include 40% faster disk performance, 25% faster virtual machine startups and shutdowns, 20% faster virtual machine suspension, and 15% faster web browsing.
The main pro of Parallels is that it allows you to run Windows programs alongside Mac apps in OS X. File sharing between the two operating systems has been improved in version 9.0 thanks to direct integration with services like Photo Stream, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. Another thing Parallels has done to tie the two platforms together is add Power Nap, Thunderbolt, and Firewire support to virtualized Windows apps.
Parallels 9 is available now as a $50 update for existing customers, and the full version is shipping for $80 online and in stores September 5th. There’s a 50% discount available for students, and anyone who purchased version 8 on or after August 15th gets a free upgrade to version 9.
To celebrate the app’s launch, Parallels is throwing in six free months of Access on the iPad for new customers.