Parallels Desktop 11 launches with support for El Capitan, Windows 10, Cortana and more

Posted:
in Mac Software edited November 2015
As anticipated, Parallels on Wednesday released Parallels Desktop 11, the latest version of its virtualization software that comes with a slew of improvements, the most notable being support for Microsoft Windows 10 and major features like the Cortana virtual assistant.




Prior to today's launch AppleInsider was given a sneak peek at some of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac's top features and came away impressed with the improvements made since last year. For example, the new version comes with full integration of Microsoft's always-on Cortana virtual assistant, support for Force Touch gestures across both operating systems and user experience improvements and a litany of evolutionary UI changes.

With Siri not yet available on OS X, it's no surprise that support for Cortana is being billed as one of this year's top features. Using the Parallels Audio Controller, users can invoke Microsoft's virtual assistant from any app, even when Windows 10 is populating the active window.

Cortana uses voice recognition and natural language processing to answer queries ranging from weather status to universal system search and beyond. With Parallels Desktop 11 users can even launch Mac apps with the service. During the presentation Cortana took a bit of coaxing to work properly (it didn't recognize the "Hey Cortana" voice trigger), but the functionality should be seamlessly integrated by today's release.




Also new is the ability to view Windows documents with Mac's Quick Look feature. On that topic, Force Touch gesture integration available with the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops can be used to invoke Quick Look and dictionary lookup in both operating environments.

A built-in Travel Mode automatically adjusts virtual machine settings to use as little power as possible, boosting battery life by as much as 25 percent. Network settings are also toggled to shared networking, in which Windows programs hop on a Mac's connection, for ease of use.

The latest version includes a dedicated Coherence button located at the top of every open window, granting quick and seamless access to Windows 10 assets like Action Center. A related feature automatically detects what app -- Windows or Mac -- is being used to open a file and, if the software is not a registered default, asks whether to always associate the file type with that program. Previously, users had to manually change this setting via the "Open With" option in Mac's "Get Info" pane.




Other improvements include native Windows print page setup from OS X, location services support, volume control synchronization, "Open in Windows"right click menu option, "Open in IE" plug-in and a recently used files list pulled from Mac, virtual machine or the cloud. A full list of additions is available at Parallels.com.

Finally, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac sports built-in support for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.11 El Capitan as either a host or guest operating system. Full integration notes have yet to be released as El Capitan is still in beta testing.

Performance enhancements:
  • Boot time and shut down time can be as much as 50 percent faster for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
  • Battery life is extended up to 25 percent
  • Tasks in Windows up to 20 percent faster
  • Moving files between Mac and Windows up to 5 percent faster
  • Virtual machines suspend up to 20 percent faster



For developers and IT professionals, Parallels is introducing a new subscription tier called Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition, which offers additional user tools and enhanced performance.

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition offers:
  • Integration with key developer tools, such as Docker, Visual Studio (plug-in), Chef and Jenkins
  • Support for Vagrant and other developer tools
  • Additional user profiles for developers, power users and testers for optimal configuration for their particular scenarios
  • Advanced networking tools and configuration for virtual networks to test complex networking scenarios, including the ability to simulate some network instabilities
  • Cloud storage access through Box.net, Dropbox for Business and OneDrive Business, for sharing from Windows to Mac
  • Headless mode for running virtual machines in the background without user interface
  • Ability to create linked clones to conserve disk space and optimize installations
  • Enhanced memory (64 GB RAM) and processing power (16 vCPU) for improved performance
  • Nested virtualization for Linux guests
  • Modern.IE test environments in the Parallels New Virtual Machine Wizard provide access to free trials of browsers for testing
  • 24/7 phone and email support
Current users of Parallels Desktop 9 and 10 can upgrade to Parallels Desktop 11 today for $49.99, or choose an introductory offer to upgrade to a Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition subscription for $49.99 per year. New customers can try Parallels Desktop for Mac 11 free for two weeks before purchasing it for $79.99 through the company's website.

In addition, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Pro Edition is available for $99.99 per year and includes a free Parallels Access subscription to remotely access Macs from any device. Finally, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Business Edition with centralized administration capabilities and prioritized support is priced at $99.99 per year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Another rip Off from parallels. While every new OS from apple and now even Microsoft is free, parallels charges 50 for it. Every year. And at least every other year one has to shell out This to ensure compatibility with newer os. Imagine office 2013 wouldn't work on Windows 10! And one would have to buy a new Office for the "free" is upgrade.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,551member
    I will stick to VMware fusion pro thanks. I tried parallels a while ago but fusion is just a solid program AND they don't milk it every year.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    ^^^^Typical responses from people that believe that professional software should be free and that a software company doesn't "deserve" to make money on continuous improvements and upgrades to their software products.

    Just a question: are you also the folks that want to bring back jobs to the US***, yet don't want to support the ones that are already there?

    *** In this particular case the majority of the developers are based in Russia and scattered throughout Europe, but there are many other US-based companies that have dozens of developers and their families too feed.

    Also of note, Parallels IP GmbH (Germany) owns a whole slew of US Patents related to VM management, so no... you're not getting the same product with Fusion or VirtualBox.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    zoczoc Posts: 77member
    @thepixeldoc I have no problem with paying for upgrades when *I* decide to update.

    With Parallels Desktop, each time a new Mac OS is made available, you MUST buy the last version or bad things will happen (and no support anymore). I'd like to be able to use the version I bought last year with 10.11.

    Do you think office users whould be happy to update the suite each time a new Windows version comes out ?
  • Reply 5 of 35
    Virtual Box doesn't even rate with Parallels at all and you're deluded if you think they come close to being feature for feature.

    Parallels blows VMware out of the water in terms of power. That's not to say VMWare is a bad product it just is slow and very Windows like in its approach to VM capabilities.

    Parallels just smokes VMWare due to its leveraging of Core technologies found in OS X which VMWare doesn't make good use of.

    If you want to run Windows games on a Mac without booting into BootCamp then Parallels is your best option.
  • Reply 6 of 35
    zoc wrote: »
    @thepixeldoc I have no problem with paying for upgrades when *I* decide to update.

    With Parallels Desktop, each time a new Mac OS is made available, you MUST buy the last version or bad things will happen (and no support anymore). I'd like to be able to use the version I bought last year with 10.11.

    Do you think office users whould be happy to update the suite each time a new Windows version comes out ?
    Bad things do not happen when you don't upgrade unless you're using ancient versions of Parallels.

    When Parallels releases a new version each year they release new features. When was the last time VMWare was updated? Two years ago wasn't it? That spells more active development and more keeping up to date with the latest versions of Windows than VMWare. That in of itself is worth the piddly amount this upgrade costs.
  • Reply 7 of 35
    sandorsandor Posts: 434member

    We run Parallels on a Mac Pro at work - the Mac does our file sharing & runs OD, Parallels hosts Windows Server 2012 & our PACS system.

     

    We tested Fusion & VirtualBox as well, but Parallels performed much better for this database system (relatively small - 20 GB SQL file, 6 TB of associated images, maybe 25-30 simultaneous users). The Mac Pro handles it all with ease too.

     

    There has never been a "required" update in our use, but then we also run OS X a few versions behind, and do not update until it has been well tested in our server environment. Our upgrades of Parallels have typically been chosen for features - more RAM, larger HDD, etc.

     

    We also use VMWare & VirtualBox throughout the office for different needs - honestly, VirtualBox has proven "best" in our use for the general end user - just in no way had the capabilities of Parallels or VMWare for a virtual server.

     

    Suffice it to say, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL were exponentially larger software costs than Parallels+updates. For the performance & ease of use (it simply does what it needs to, quietly & efficiently) i would highly recommend it. 

  • Reply 8 of 35
    I own Parallels Desktop from I think version 4 or 5 to version 7 and find it crappy and cheap to offer an upgrade to only the last two versions of their product. Sure this is just a nit pick issue. Bit every new version promised to fix all the bugs of the prior one and did most eventually - If I bought yet another version (with its own can of worms). At a minimum I need to see that they finally fixed the un-installer.

    Not that I don't run virtualization - have done so on Windows Server since the 2003 version. Love it on my (old now) Intel Xeon Sliver box beta units. Will run Win 10 on a Intel NUC (like a MAC mini but open to modifications). Boot Camp is a far safer route to Cortana.. sorry but I don't trust Parallels.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    neilmneilm Posts: 526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

     


     

    What's next, a blow-up doll version of Cortana?

  • Reply 10 of 35
    roakeroake Posts: 550member

    For those interested in Parallels, just wait a few months, then they will spam your mailbox with offers to get Parallels along with 1Password and 6-7 other apps for $49 total.

  • Reply 11 of 35
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,551member
    ^^^^Typical responses from people that believe that professional software should be free and that a software company doesn't "deserve" to make money on continuous improvements and upgrades to their software products.

    Just a question: are you also the folks that want to bring back jobs to the US***, yet don't want to support the ones that are already there?

    *** In this particular case the majority of the developers are based in Russia and scattered throughout Europe, but there are many other US-based companies that have dozens of developers and their families too feed.

    Also of note, Parallels IP GmbH (Germany) owns a whole slew of US Patents related to VM management, so no... you're not getting the same product with Fusion or VirtualBox.

    Thats correct, VMWare is a superior product from both support and stability standpoint.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    hodarhodar Posts: 232member
    In defense of Parallels - and I'm just trying to be fair.

    I bought my first version from Amazon for $49; Version 8. Luckily for me, I got this as the next version was released - so I got version 9 for free. Version 9 supported OSX Lion and Yosemite. With it, I run WinXP and Win7 Pro. Worked well enough.

    With the upgrade from MSFT taking Win7 to Win10 for free; PLUS the fact that a second major OSX upgrade is coming, I think the $49 to upgrade to Parallels 11 is more than fair. I think of this as a $25/year upgrade path. The good folk who make this product need an income for their work; they cannot keep the company growing based solely upon new program sales - the Mac market share is simply not that great.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    d4njvrzfd4njvrzf Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post



    Another rip Off from parallels. While every new OS from apple and now even Microsoft is free, parallels charges 50 for it. Every year. And at least every other year one has to shell out This to ensure compatibility with newer os. Imagine office 2013 wouldn't work on Windows 10! And one would have to buy a new Office for the "free" is upgrade.

    Where did you get the idea that new OS's from Apple are free? When you buy a Mac, you're not just paying for a computer with a blank SSD.

  • Reply 14 of 35
    sandorsandor Posts: 434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by d4NjvRzf View Post

     

    Where did you get the idea that new OS's from Apple are free? When you buy a Mac, you're not just paying for a computer with a blank SSD.




    please don't be obtuse.

     

    yes, there is no such thing as a free lunch, but Apple does not charge money for OS updates anymore.

  • Reply 15 of 35
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member

    Requisite "Does this version of Parallels include ads?" post.

  • Reply 16 of 35
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoc View Post



    @thepixeldoc I have no problem with paying for upgrades when *I* decide to update.



    With Parallels Desktop, each time a new Mac OS is made available, you MUST buy the last version or bad things will happen (and no support anymore). I'd like to be able to use the version I bought last year with 10.11.



    Do you think office users whould be happy to update the suite each time a new Windows version comes out ?


    Bad things do not happen when you don't upgrade unless you're using ancient versions of Parallels.



    When Parallels releases a new version each year they release new features. When was the last time VMWare was updated? Two years ago wasn't it? That spells more active development and more keeping up to date with the latest versions of Windows than VMWare. That in of itself is worth the piddly amount this upgrade costs.

     

    Both Fusion/Parallels will require a paid update for coherence/unity mode with Windows 10: Year-old Parallels and VMware software won’t be updated for Windows 10 | Ars Technica

     

    BTW, Fusion was upgraded to version 7 on September 3, 2014 and the last update was version 7.1.2 on June 15, 2015, which was an OpenSSL security patch.   Source   (Just an observation, but righteousness and indignation come off a lot better when you have your facts straight.)

     

    Which doesn't answer my original question, "Are there still ads in the newest version of Parallels?"

  • Reply 17 of 35
    sandorsandor Posts: 434member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John.B View Post

     

     

    ...

    Which doesn't answer my original question, "Are there still ads in the newest version of Parallels?"


     

    I have never seen ads in Parallels (v6 through v10)

  • Reply 18 of 35
    john.b wrote: »
    Both Fusion/Parallels will require a paid update for coherence/unity mode with Windows 10: Year-old Parallels and VMware software won’t be updated for Windows 10 | Ars Technica

    BTW, Fusion was upgraded to version 7 on September 3, 2014 and the last update was version 7.1.2 on June 15, 2015, which was an OpenSSL security patch.   Source   (Just an observation, but righteousness and indignation come off a lot better when you have your facts straight.)

    Which doesn't answer my original question, "Are there still ads in the newest version of Parallels?"

    I have yet to see any ads.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    roake wrote: »
    For those interested in Parallels, just wait a few months, then they will spam your mailbox with offers to get Parallels along with 1Password and 6-7 other apps for $49 total.
    True and if you automatically have emails from parallels forwarded to spam they will make sure you get the message by popping up splash screens when you fire up parallels.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sandor View Post

     

    I have never seen ads in Parallels (v6 through v10)


     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by johnnash View Post



    I have yet to see any ads.

     

    For those wondering, this was where I got off the Parallels train:  Turn off ads in Parallels Desktop - Mac OS X Hints

     

    That was a pretty shitty way to treat your paying customers, if you ask me.

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