Parallels Desktop 7, a new version of the popular Mac virtual machine hosting software, has just been announced. It allows Mac users to run Windows, Linux, Snow Leopard Server, and now Lion (client or server). If the latter item wasn’t enough to catch your attention you’ll be pleased to know that it also ships with 90 new and enhanced features.
Parallels claims that the new version of Parallels is 60 percent faster than Parallels Desktop 6 when resuming Windows and that it offers a 45 percent faster 3D graphics experience. Although performance is a big plus the real improvements are linked to Mac OS X Lion, since Parallels Desktop 7 now supports full-screen mode, Launch Pad, and Mission Control while running Windows applications.
The two biggest enhancements in Parallels Desktop 7 are tied to your Mac’s built-in camera and Mac OS X Lion. Parallels 7 can take advantage of your Mac’s iSight or FaceTime camera in both Windows and Mac OS X simultaneously. It can also now host Mac OS X Lion in a virtual machine which is something I’m sure developers will love.
Another new feature offers users the ability to use enhanced remote capabilities to connect to virtual machines remotely from any iOS device running the Parallels Mobile app. Currently that app is free in the iTunes App Store, but starting tomorrow (9/1/11) it will cost $4.99 initially before the price goes up to $19.99 sometime in the future. If you get it now or already have it then you’ll get the upgraded version that supports Parallels 7’s new features for free.
Finally, one other feature is for people who own a Mac, but don’t have a licensed copy of Windows. Parallels 7 will now allow you to use a feature called Windows on Demand. That new feature allows you to buy and automatically install a copy of Windows 7 as a virtual machine on your Mac.
The pricing of Parallels Desktop 7 is as follows: $79.99 for the full retail version and $39.99 for the student version. If you are upgrading from Parallels Desktop 5 or 6 the cost is $49.99. If you are PC user switching to the Mac the Parallels Desktop 7 Switch to Mac version, which includes a USB cable and video tutorials on how to use a Mac, costs $99.99. Volume or Enterprise licenses are available. Parallels Desktop 7 will be available on September 6, 2011.
Read the full press releases at parallels.com.