Earlier today Parallels announced Parallels Desktop 7 which is an updated to the already immensely popular Mac virtual machine hosting software. Those familiar with the software will know that it allows Mac users to run Windows, Linux, now Lion in a virtual environment. 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.
Mac OS X Lion – running in a Parallels Desktop 7 virtual machine.
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.