Parallels Desktop for Mac v3 Due Soon


Parallels has announced RC1 for Parallels for Mac Version 3 and has stated that it’s final release is “just weeks away” on their blog. The features they’re promoting are SmartSelect, 3D Graphics and Snapshots. The “feel good” marketing numbers are 50+ features, 100+fixes, 100k+ dev hours and 1k+ beta testers.

SmartSelect extends the Coherence model and allows you to assign file types to specific applications, Windows or Mac. While the obvious use might be to always open *.doc files in MS Word (for example) it can also work in reverse. You can have a hyperlink from a Windows app open in Safari or Firefox on Mac OS X.

3D Graphics support is said to include OpenGL and DirectX but there’s some interesting wording on their site. They say “Vista Aero coming soon” which implies it’s not yet supported. Possibly it’s still a bit buggy in beta and they don’t want to commit. They don’t say what versions of DirectX will be supported but the blog mentions running Quake 4 so there’s at least DX9 support.

Snapshots will provide the ability the save the VM at a point in time and then roll back if necessary. Custom intervals can be set up to create the snapshots.

Among other features mentioned are:

  • Seamless integration between Linux and Mac OS X
  • Parallels Explorer for offline access to VM’s
  • Expanded support for USB and printer sharing across OS’s
  • “significant” enhancements to performance and audio

With the increased integration between Windows and OS X comes the obvious question of what this will do to OS X security. They seem to address this with Security Manager that controls integration. But given a choice between ease of use and security 99% of the people are going to pick ease of use. Additional security features are the ability to make VM’s read only and they’ll include a 6 month trial subscription for Kaspersky Antivirus.

Parallels is being offered as an upgrade for $39.99 through June 6th after which the upgrade will be $49.99 and the full price will be $79.99. I’ll be upgrading no matter what so I might as well pre-order for the discount. But I didn’t get a Mac so I could run Windows software. I got a Mac so I didn’t have to run Windows software. So the SmartSelect scares me more than anything but the 3D Graphics support seems good for games and I’ll be using the snapshots a lot in my software testing. I do see Parallels being useful. In addition to games there’s other software that’s available for Windows but not the Mac. As much as I would like to convert my parents to a Mac there’s a couple software apps that have no OS X counterpart and won’t run in the current version of Parallels. I see Parallels as the perfect product to enable moving to the Mac when there’s still one or two critical apps that are Windows only. Plus, it can also protect an investment in Windows software even if there are OS X alternatives.

Will this version of Parallels you off of windows? What features are you looking excited about or wish were added? What type of Windows software will you run?

Personally, I fear the integration.