This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parallels. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you’ve recently made the switch from a PC to a Mac, are considering making the switch, or if you took the leap a long time ago and have been searching for the best way to run those Windows-only programs without having to leave OS X to do so, you’ve probably heard about Parallels. Did you know that Parallels Desktop 7 is coming out? With more features than ever, now is a great time to consider Parallels as a great alternative to running Boot Camp and losing access to your OS X apps while working on Windows programs. With Parallels, you can do both, and the new features in Parallels 7 make it even easier than before.
OS X Lion Integration
You may already be a Parallels user. If so, you’re probably wondering why you should upgrade when Parallels 6 is already capable of handling quite a bit. Well, if you’ve recently upgraded to OS X Lion, you’ll be happy to know that Parallels Desktop 7 is built to integrate seamlessly with Lion’s new features. Full screen, Mission Control, Launchpad, and more are made available to Parallels 7 users that take advantage of Coherence mode. In addition, app developers can run another instance of OS X Lion inside of OS X Lion for testing without risking any damage to your primary files and/or applications.
While Parallels Desktop 7 has been tweaked to integrate into Mac OS X Lion, it will run just fine on Leopard and Snow Leopard, as well.
One of the biggest time spenders when loading Windows in a virtual machine is the time it takes to boot. Parallels Desktop 7 has improved boot time by up to 60 percent compared to Parallels Desktop 6. This faster boot time is very noticeable, especially when you’re in a hurry to get a specific task done.
In addition, some tweaks have been made to how Parallels Desktop 7 handles 3D and graphics. This means that programs that work with 3D environments, like games, could see a performance increase of up to 45% above the already fast speeds of Parallels Desktop 6. Part of the reason for this increase is based in the 64-bit Cocoa code that makes up the entire user interface.
The overall look and feel of Parallels has been modified to enhance the user experience and make everything more intuitive. Many of these changes can be seen in how Parallels Desktop 7 takes advantage of the latest features of OS X Lion. The goal of Parallels (especially in Coherence mode) is to make the entire experience as seamless as possible. By allowing your Windows programs to run side-by-side with OS X applications, Parallels enables you to enjoy both operating systems inside of one consistent experience.
The Parallels Wizard makes the creation and management of new virtual machines easier than previous version. I say this because having the ability to buy and download Windows 7 within the wizard and install everything in one single process instead of having to run to the store means you can be up and running faster and easier than before. Like previous Parallels versions, you can also create virtual machines with Ubuntu, Chromium OS, and other Linux operating systems without any technical know-how required.
In addition to sharing your hard drive, CPU, and RAM, Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac enables you to access your iSight and FaceTime HD webcams across both operating systems. In addition, you can still access the virtual machine’s start menu, documents folder, and hard drive within OS X. Copy and paste is synced as well, allowing you to take a snippet of information from Mac OS X to Windows without having to go through any additional hassle between the two.
This is probably my favorite feature of Parallels Desktop 7. Using the Parallels Mobile app, I can control my virtual machines and the entire Mac from an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. For less than the price of a burger and fries, I can essentially run Windows (and Ubuntu, Chromium OS, etc.) on my mobile device. I can even play back audio and music files remotely and watch Flash video on my iPhone or iPad. With Parallels Mobile and Parallels Desktop 7, you can even copy and paste text directly from your mobile device to your virtual machine from anywhere.
Parallels Desktop 7 will be available on September 6, 2011 and is expected to have a retail price of $79.99 with an upgrade price for existing users of $49.99.
All right, I’ve explained why I’m excited about the new version of Parallels, but there’s more. The folks over at Parallels would like to offer you a chance to get a MacBook Air, absolutely free. All you need to do is watch for any tweets that go out on my primary Twitter account (@ChrisPirillo) between now and September 6, 2011. Each day, I’ll be sending a different tweet out about Parallels Desktop 7 and when you retweet them, you’ll be entered to win. Good luck!