Parallels Access Lets You Run Mac & PC Apps As If They Were Native On Your iPad

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The virtualization maestros over at Parallels have long offered Mac owners a slick, easy way to run Windows apps on their Macs, but now they’re extending their mission in the other direction with a new app that lets you run Mac & PC apps… on your iPad.

Called Parallels Access, the new app promises to make desktop apps feel truly “native” on the iPad. It’s not cheap — although Parallels Access itself is free, it requires you to subscribe to a $79.99 per year service for every computer you want to use it with — but once it has been set up on your desktop and iPad, Parallels Access will show all of your Mac apps in a simple, iOS-style launcher menu.

That’s not all. Parallels Access automatically maximizes and resizes all of your apps to a full-screen view to make them look good on your iPad. It also fleshes things out by introducing a host of iOS touch gestures to the mix, helping provide the illusion that the desktop app you’re virtualizing on your iPad is actually native.

Of course, all of this can only go so far: as Microsoft found out with Windows 8, an app that has been made for the desktop does not necessarily translate to a touch-based app with any kind of elegance. To make things easier, Parallels has introduced a new feature called SmartTap that intelligently compensates on-the-fly, trying to ensure you tap the right buttons, no matter how small the target.

It looks like a slick app, and by all accounts, it’s as responsive as can be expected, but the price here is pretty hard to swallow. Virtualizing desktop apps on the iPad can be a frustrating experience no matter what, and while Parallels Access might lubricate the process a bit, the $80 a year price is likely to keep everyone but corporate customers away.

Source: Parallels Access