Parallels, the software program that lets you run OS X and another operating system side-by-side on a Mac computer, is getting an upgrade. Version 11 ushers in support for the two newest OSes in 2015; Windows 10 and the forthcoming OS X El Capitan. It also promises to be much faster (up to 50 percent in some cases) than the versions before it.
You get three product choices with this launch: Parallels Desktop 11, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition and Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition. Parallels Desktop 11 gets several performance improvements, including up to 50 percent faster boot and shutdown times and 20 percent faster file operations, both for Windows.
You’ll also be able to use Windows 10’s always-on Cortana feature, where you can ask Microsoft’s digital personal assistant for directions, restaurant recommendations, sports scores and more, even when you’re in OS X. Finally, a new Travel Mode tells your Windows OS to use less power when you’re away from a charger, giving you better battery life for your Mac.
The Pro version is brand-new this year and it’s built for developers with support for Docker, Visual Studio, Chef and other developer tools. The Business Edition is for IT departments, with built-in administrative features to manage other machines running Parallels, plus extended support from the company.
If you already have Parallels version 9 or 10, you can upgrade to version 11 for $49.99 (£34.99, AU$64.95). You’ll also get an offer to upgrade to the Mac Pro Edition instead for $49.99 (£34.99, AU$64.95) per year, which also comes with a free subscription to Parallels’ remote-access program, Access. For new customers, Parallels Desktop 11 costs $79.99 (£64.99, AU$99.95) flat-out, while the Mac Pro Edition and the Business Edition each cost $99.99 (£69.99, AU$125.00) per year individually.