Parallels Access brings Mac and Windows programs to Apple's iPad with full gesture support

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Parallels, the company known for its virtualization software, rolled out a new iPad app and subscription service on Tuesday called Parallels Access that promises to run both Mac and PC programs on Apple's tablet with near-native performance.

Parallels Access
Parallels Access App Launcher. | Source: Parallels


With Parallels Access, the software firm has built a completely new way to naturally interact with desktop applications on an iPad. A number of developers have fielded similar apps that promise full remote control functionality from Apple's tablet, but many resort to clunky interfaces that draw users out of the "iPad experience."

Unlike other apps, Access offers the full gamut of iPad gestures, with taps, swipes and pinches all supported by almost any desktop program. To bridge the gap between computer and tablet, the system translates mouse clicks and movement into iPad-friendly gestures.

Parallels claims its new product can handle a variety of tasks, including business programs, streaming video and even games. Internet speeds are supposedly a non-factor, though degradation may be expected when connecting over cellular networks.

The system is actually split into two parts: the iOS app and a Mac or PC client that runs on the host computer. Access authenticates via a Parallels account and links the two devices with a 256-bit AES secured SSL connection.

At the heart of Access is the App Launcher, which is basically a Springboard-like layout of compatible desktop applications. Programs can be added or deleted from this view in much the same way as iOS.

The App Switcher seamlessly moves users between programs, a necessary tool since Access only works in "full screen" mode. Parallels calls this method "applifying."

Parallels Access
Select, copy and pasting in Access.


Navigating within running programs is an intuitive experience thanks to the combination of SmartTap and the iOS magnifying glass. SmartTap is a contextual cursor control that, in tandem with magnifying glass, allows users to perform advanced mouse actions like drag and drop.

One difficult maneuver that many VNC and other remote desktop apps have trouble with is scrolling. Access' gesture translation engine doesn't appear to suffer from the same problems, making in-window navigation less of a chore.

The app's keyboard is also tweaked from the standard iOS version, offering users dedicated keys for functions, arrows, and even the "Windows" button.

Those interested can try Parallels Access for free for 14 days on a Mac and 90 days on a Windows machine. Subscription pricing is set at $79.99 per year for each computer running a registered client. The iPad app and Mac or PC clients can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Parallels' webpage, respectively.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member


    If so, Parallells is about about to make a sh!tload of cash...

  • Reply 2 of 70
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Free Trial needed. Sounds fantastic but without even a limited demo, no way am I shelling out $80 on marketing faith.
  • Reply 3 of 70


    There are a lot of remote desktop apps that are sort of "close but no cigar." If this app is as good as claimed, then maybe it will nudge some of its competitors into action to knock some of the rough edges off of their apps. Certainly, with an $80/year price they are giving their competition plenty of opportunity to improve their apps and make money. I think $80 per year is too much for an app in this category. $40 for a time unlimited license seems about right to me and is a higher price than current remote desktop apps for iPad.

     

  • Reply 4 of 70
    Subscription-based software again? Now there's a trend I am never going to buy into, even if it means a return to those previous, luddite-like, computer-free-lifestyle days: my 1970's teens.

    I've already bought my last version of Creative Suite (Adobe). No "creative cloud subscription required" for me, thanks. Ever. (I'll try to make this one last, then I'll MAKE a damned alternative if I have to.)

    No subscription-only "Office 360" type suites for me either. Ever.

    Subscription only? No sale!


    Yes, I'm old-fashioned. A pro-software power-user who doesn't believe in depending on "cloud based" subscription-dependent platforms to get work done. I license it from you ONCE, I use it when/as/if I like, update on an as-needed basis (when I decide to), and pay for upgrades when I feel like (or can afford) it.

    Subscription-based software is neither less expensive or all that much more convenient. It's just another kind of "product slavery". Some claim it's a way to reduce piracy and therefore costs. But I guarantee that's a ruse to earn more profits. Prices won't go down. Nor will services particularly improve.

    OK, that was my soapbox. I'm climbing down now. ;)
  • Reply 5 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    This I gotta see....

    I'ver tried other systems attempting this but they all basically sucked.

    For me I'm interested simply from the technical view point. Having said that, I'm, struggling to see a need for this for normal users.
  • Reply 6 of 70
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    It looks as though it's been well thought out:


    [VIDEO]


    but there's no demo there of what dealing with the menu bars are like, opening and saving files etc. It would give an idea of what a touch OS X might behave like but the menu bar and filesystem are the biggest issues to overcome.
  • Reply 7 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    Subscription-based software again? Now there's a trend I am never going to buy into, even if it means a return to those previous, luddite-like, computer-free-lifestyle days: my 1970's teens.

    I've already bought my last version of Creative Suite (Adobe). No "creative cloud subscription required" for me, thanks. Ever. (I'll try to make this one last, then I'll MAKE a damned alternative if I have to.)

    No subscription-only "Office 360" type suites for me either. Ever.

    Subscription only? No sale!


    Yes, I'm old-fashioned. A pro-software power-user who doesn't believe in depending on "cloud based" subscription-dependent platforms to get work done. I license it from you ONCE, I use it when/as/if I like, update on an as-needed basis (when I decide to), and pay for upgrades when I feel like (or can afford) it.

    Subscription-based software is neither less expensive or all that much more convenient. It's just another kind of "product slavery". Some claim it's a way to reduce piracy and therefore costs. But I guarantee that's a ruse to earn more profits. Prices won't go down. Nor will services particularly improve.

    OK, that was my soapbox. I'm climbing down now. ;)

    Maybe I'm reading this wrongly but this isn't SaaS as such, is it? You access your own applications on your own Mac or PC. That said there is a subscription for the utility to do this so it is quasi SaaS I suppose.

    I agree about Adobe! I just hope someone steps up to replace MacPaint Pro, err... I mean Photoshop CS6.
  • Reply 8 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    Marvin wrote: »
    It looks as though it's been well thought out:


    [VIDEO]


    but there's no demo there of what dealing with the menu bars are like, opening and saving files etc. It would give an idea of what a touch OS X might behave like but the menu bar and filesystem are the biggest issues to overcome.

    I used a similar system the name of which I forget a year or so back. Same idea, a server ran on the Mac. It sucked big time though, mainly because OS X applications are simply not designed for touch interface in so many more ways than the obvious. I'd love to try this though.

    edit ... running Windows 8 running in a VM on a Mac using an iPad ... now that's my kind of convolution, yeah baby!
  • Reply 9 of 70
    rcfarcfa Posts: 757member
    Subscription-based software again? Now there's a trend I am never going to buy into, even if it means a return to those previous, luddite-like, computer-free-lifestyle days: my 1970's teens.

    I've already bought my last version of Creative Suite (Adobe). No "creative cloud subscription required" for me, thanks. Ever. (I'll try to make this one last, then I'll MAKE a damned alternative if I have to.)

    No subscription-only "Office 360" type suites for me either. Ever.

    Subscription only? No sale!


    Yes, I'm old-fashioned. A pro-software power-user who doesn't believe in depending on "cloud based" subscription-dependent platforms to get work done. I license it from you ONCE, I use it when/as/if I like, update on an as-needed basis (when I decide to), and pay for upgrades when I feel like (or can afford) it.

    Subscription-based software is neither less expensive or all that much more convenient. It's just another kind of "product slavery". Some claim it's a way to reduce piracy and therefore costs. But I guarantee that's a ruse to earn more profits. Prices won't go down. Nor will services particularly improve.

    OK, that was my soapbox. I'm climbing down now. ;)

    Amen, brother. Exactly my thoughts.
    I rather use ten year old software than fall into this dependency trap.
    NFW, not gonna happen, not gonna do it; it's bad enough to have to pay taxes to government, not going to pay taxes to corporations. Sell the goods or get lost.

    Worse, the last thing I need is a man in the middle, otherwise we can pick the NSA as service provider (Why doesn't the NSA offer online data backup anyway?). My machines have public IPs so I don't need some connection service that jeopardizes data security; and with IPv6 there is no excuse left for NAT, either.
  • Reply 10 of 70
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,349member
    Subscription, NO!
    I don't mind buying software but I'm not renting it.
    A hard copy of Parallels for the Mac didn't cost that much.
  • Reply 11 of 70


    Yeah, I agree...needs a trial. 

  • Reply 12 of 70
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,155member
    Yeah, I agree...needs a trial. 

    There is a trial according to the video.
  • Reply 13 of 70

    deleted- misunderstood how this works

  • Reply 14 of 70
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,363member


    Echoing tribalogical's fine rant, I was all about this until I hit the $80/year access fee.



    No. Sale.



    Subscription everything is the death of a thousand financial cuts.  Start with the pre-digital services like gas, electricity, water and trash (about $5000/year for me in a fairly tightly run suburban home with a reasonable yard). Then approximately $2200 + for cable and internet (yeah I still "watch TV" - as do likely a hundred million or more in the US).  And then add $250/year for cloud backup (500GB).  And $12-1500 a year for smart phone service.....



    And boom, that's already starting to scrape 9 G's a year without paying rent (or mortgage/real estate taxes), or getting a national paper (paper or digital) - or having a bite to eat



    So yeah, sticking with Office '10 on Win and Office '11 on Mac and Adobe CS 2 Creative suite rather than another $600/year.  And overloaded with video, so no Netflix, Hulu + etc.  And now everybody wants into the cash flow game. $80/year may not sound like much, but it's adding them all up that makes you see how much cash you can bleed to have a reasonable complement of digital tools.



    I mean, somebody or somebodies out there, how many more of these can you name?  I'll bet there's a ton from small (domain name renewal), to middling (e.g., a moderately complex SquareSpace web site), and more companies are glomming onto this "revenue stabilization and enhancement model" every day.



    "Software as a service" is a euphemism for "we can't add enough extra value in our version upgrades to make it worth your while, so we'll force you to take them."



    And if we let them, they will.



     

  • Reply 15 of 70
    How does this break Apple's developer guidelines. Let me count the ways. Good luck getting this approved.
  • Reply 16 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by yelapa View Post


    There are a lot of remote desktop apps that are sort of "close but no cigar." If this app is as good as claimed, then maybe it will nudge some of its competitors into action to knock some of the rough edges off of their apps. Certainly, with an $80/year price they are giving their competition plenty of opportunity to improve their apps and make money. I think $80 per year is too much for an app in this category. $40 for a time unlimited license seems about right to me and is a higher price than current remote desktop apps for iPad.

     



     


    Well it doesn't really seem to be a remote desktop client at all, more like a remote app server app.  A better approach to be sure and probably the reason for the failure of the other attempts. 

  • Reply 17 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    There is a trial according to the video.


     


    And the article.  It says so right in the article just above the price where it talks about the subscription price that the same people are complaining about.  

  • Reply 18 of 70
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    It looks as though it's been well thought out:









    but there's no demo there of what dealing with the menu bars are like, opening and saving files etc. It would give an idea of what a touch OS X might behave like but the menu bar and filesystem are the biggest issues to overcome.


     


    The part about working with word is hilarious.  It basically turns Word into Pages for iOS by using the pages gestures and the pages toolbar popup.


     


     Like you say though, it doesn't show what happens when you go near that nightmare toolbar at the top of Word for OS X.  Pages on iOS does most of what Word's ribbon does with just a few buttons.  

  • Reply 19 of 70
    diddydiddy Posts: 282member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mscientist View Post



    How does this break Apple's developer guidelines. Let me count the ways. Good luck getting this approved.


    I don't see it breaking any of Apple's developer guidelines at all given that similar products have existed long before without being rejected at all.

  • Reply 20 of 70
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member
    Well if the demand for such an app doesn't exist, Parallel's will be forced to cut there price / subscription practise.
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