Parallels 16 for Apple Silicon M1 Mac launches in beta - minus Intel OS support

Posted:
in Mac Software edited December 2020
Popular virtualization software Parallels now supports Apple Silicon in an invite-only Technical Preview -- with notable caveats.

Parallels is inviting beta testers to try out its Technical Preview for M1 Macs
Parallels is inviting beta testers to try out its Technical Preview for M1 Macs


Parallels showcased an Apple Silicon version of its software at WWDC 2020, but this Technical Preview is the first time the company has made its virtualization app available to M1 Mac users. Parallels is sending invite emails, viewed by AppleInsider, with installation instructions.

The Technical Preview has some strict limits in its current state. It only works on M1 Macs, and you can only install system images of ARM-based operating systems. Intel-based OS images are not supported.

The only way to run Windows in the Technical Preview is to sign up for Microsoft's Insider program and download the Windows 10 Client ARM64 Insider Preview VHDX file. The Parallels preview will recognize the file and create a Windows 10 on ARM virtual machine.

Furthermore, the preview is not yet compatible with existing disk images used in previous versions of Parallels. The beta also doesn't support suspending and resuming virtual machines, and users will need to shut down the VM to close the app.

Parallels is among a group of virtualization software developers scrambling to solve Apple Silicon's unique challenges. Competing developers behind Docker and VMWare also plan on updating their applications for the M1 chips.

After Apple had announced the first Apple Silicon Macs in November, Parallels said it was "excited to see the performance, power efficiency, and virtualization features" and had promised "tremendous progress" made since the annual conference.

If you own an M1 Mac, you can request access to the Technical Preview here.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    razorpit
  • Reply 2 of 18
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,428member
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.

    My need negates your need, so no, it's not at all useless.

    I run an OpenBSD web server, I'll be happy when I can switch it over to my M1 Mac mini.
    XedgregoriusmseanjfastasleepRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Docker, Parallels, VMWare ... one of these things is not like the other. 

    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    Says you. Much of the population these days have no use for Windows at all. (Not a Windows hater, quite the contrary, just stating a fact). Especially developers, 35% of whom use Linux exclusively, and a bunch more only use Linux and macOS. This group won't bat an eye at Windows not being available, but will welcome the ability to run Linux in VirtualBox, VMWare and Parallels when the Pro M1 Mac configurations come out in 2021.
    gregoriusmRayz2016
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Most corporate linux instances are on Intel gear. So really, unless you're using this for your personal website, internal network, etc... this is a toy release. My company is a software developer and our product are on Intel Linux systems. M1 is great, but if I can't get our software images to run on M1 virtualization software, nothing will convince them to buy M1 laptops for us.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    If Microsoft makes it legal to use Windows on Arm in a VM on macOS then this will be very useful. Right now QEmu works with WoA and testers are saying the latest win32/win64 translation/emulation is reasonably fast on the M1. I'm not involved with the Windows Insider program and have no real interest in Windows but I've used QEmu, vftool, simpleVM, and Docker to run Linux and they all seem to work just fine. I'm just waiting on information on how to boot Big Sur in a VM and my virtual machine needs are met.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Not being able to run "Intel-based OS images" is not a caveat and is 100% expected - IT IS VIRTUALIZATION, not emulation.
    scartartwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Most corporate linux instances are on Intel gear. So really, unless you're using this for your personal website, internal network, etc... this is a toy release. My company is a software developer and our product are on Intel Linux systems. M1 is great, but if I can't get our software images to run on M1 virtualization software, nothing will convince them to buy M1 laptops for us.
    Oh for crying out loud. Look, ARM versions of CentOS/RHEL have been out since 2010. Ubuntu released theirs in 2011. Major companies like Ampere, HP, Xilinx and Texas Instruments make ARM servers, with Nvidia soon to join them. Also lots of other companies - like Google and Amazon - are now building their own. 

    Amazon in particular has a heavy investment in ARM servers. (Google isn't doing much in this space, but Microsoft has Windows Server for ARM in Azure.) Cloud companies are moving to ARM in a big way in order to get similar performance to x86 while saving power. So if your company doesn't have software engineers or architects who have an AWS or other cloud background ... let's just say I doubt it and move on. 

    These are "toys" only because they are entry level machines that max out at 16 GB of RAM. But you even have companies buying Raspberry Pi ARM CPUs and programming them for IoT applications. Raspberry Pi can now run all the major Linux distros commonly used in IoT: Android Things, Debian, Ubuntu Core, Raspbian etc. Gee, it would be great to have an ARM-based laptop to use to run my Linux IoT OS in VMWare. Oh gee, where can I get a good ARM-based laptop that can actually run VMWare. (Which excludes Chromebooks - while the latest x86 based ones now can ARM ones can't yet - and Windows ARM.)

    Sorry, I am not even as gung ho about M1 Macs as everyone else is and I can tell you that you are off base. If I:

    A) didn't have specific needs that ARM-based Macs can't meet right now
    B) hadn't JUST BOUGHT a fresh round of Windows (although several just to put Linux on) and ChromeOS computers to meet those needs I would absolutely have an M1 Mac Mini right now.
    jas99dewmechia
  • Reply 8 of 18
    jdb8167 said:
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    If Microsoft makes it legal to use Windows on Arm in a VM on macOS then this will be very useful. 
    Has no chance of happening. 
  • Reply 9 of 18
    kpomkpom Posts: 653member
    cloudguy said:
    jdb8167 said:
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    If Microsoft makes it legal to use Windows on Arm in a VM on macOS then this will be very useful. 
    Has no chance of happening. 
    Perhaps not if Gates or Ballmer were still CEO, but Satya Nadella is more pragmatic. 
    zeus423watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,476moderator
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    Windows ARM is functional, it looks like they have decent GPU support too:









    Microsoft would just have to start a license program. They wouldn't even have to do it directly, they could treat Parallels or VMWare like a hardware manufacturer and sell licenses through them.

    They only brought x64 translation out in the last couple of weeks so it's quite early for official support but those videos look pretty good already. If official support never comes, people who need it will find alternative options, they'll either find a prerelease copy of the OS that will run or buy PC hardware.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,613member
    cloudguy said:
    Most corporate linux instances are on Intel gear. So really, unless you're using this for your personal website, internal network, etc... this is a toy release. My company is a software developer and our product are on Intel Linux systems. M1 is great, but if I can't get our software images to run on M1 virtualization software, nothing will convince them to buy M1 laptops for us.
    Oh for crying out loud. Look, ARM versions of CentOS/RHEL have been out since 2010. Ubuntu released theirs in 2011. Major companies like Ampere, HP, Xilinx and Texas Instruments make ARM servers, with Nvidia soon to join them. Also lots of other companies - like Google and Amazon - are now building their own. 

    Amazon in particular has a heavy investment in ARM servers. (Google isn't doing much in this space, but Microsoft has Windows Server for ARM in Azure.) Cloud companies are moving to ARM in a big way in order to get similar performance to x86 while saving power. So if your company doesn't have software engineers or architects who have an AWS or other cloud background ... let's just say I doubt it and move on. 

    These are "toys" only because they are entry level machines that max out at 16 GB of RAM. But you even have companies buying Raspberry Pi ARM CPUs and programming them for IoT applications. Raspberry Pi can now run all the major Linux distros commonly used in IoT: Android Things, Debian, Ubuntu Core, Raspbian etc. Gee, it would be great to have an ARM-based laptop to use to run my Linux IoT OS in VMWare. Oh gee, where can I get a good ARM-based laptop that can actually run VMWare. (Which excludes Chromebooks - while the latest x86 based ones now can ARM ones can't yet - and Windows ARM.)

    Sorry, I am not even as gung ho about M1 Macs as everyone else is and I can tell you that you are off base. If I:

    A) didn't have specific needs that ARM-based Macs can't meet right now
    B) hadn't JUST BOUGHT a fresh round of Windows (although several just to put Linux on) and ChromeOS computers to meet those needs I would absolutely have an M1 Mac Mini right now.
    Several good points in there - along with some opinions. No problem. I agree that support for ARM is much more pervasive and widespread than what most Mac users realize. Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 are heavily dominated by ARM based solutions. This will ultimately mean several more  billions of ARM based connected devices being brought online. 

    My opinion on M1 Mac is that it represents an inversion point in computing, one where device oriented components and architectures are trickling UP to desktop and personal computing platforms rather than the other way around. 

    Unbeknownst to a lot of folks Intel has been trickling DOWN a fair amount of their x86 technology into the embedded space through a combination of PC class x86 processors, specialized/industrialized versions of PC class x86 processors, and PC class x86 processor cores bundled into microcontrollers that have specialized IO and peripherals designed to form a larger part of the solution. Intel also has commodity embedded micro- processors/controllers in the device space that have zero potential, unlike ARM, of moving upscale. 

    So I absolutely see M1 as being a very big deal. They’ve flipped the script and not just as a proof of concept. For all of its impressive performance, and limitations, it’s still just Apple first step in a new direction. It isn’t perfect but it dramatically removes some of the major impediments, like power dissipation, that have held back existing architectures from scaling to their fuller potential. 

    As far as VMWare, Parallels, Virtual Box virtual machine support for Intel specific OS and apps, I’m not losing any sleep over it as long as there is still compatible hardware available to run it on. Apple’s M1 is a single vendor single platform deployment option, not the only option. 

    Like you said, anyone who has a business plan, desire, and is sufficiently motivated to move their functionality to ARM based architectures will climb aboard that train. Those who decide not to climb aboard will be either left behind or have to ride on a different train. But I wouldn’t count on the ARM train hitching itself to x86 legacy in anything other than a transitional way that can be quickly jettisoned when it becomes a drag. 
    edited December 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,878member
    cloudguy said:
    jdb8167 said:
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    If Microsoft makes it legal to use Windows on Arm in a VM on macOS then this will be very useful. 
    Has no chance of happening. 
    Why?  I don't see any major downside for Microsoft.  The more Windows installations the better for Redmond.
    razorpit
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Windows on ARM is so pointless. Windows remains somewhat dominant because of the vast library of x86/x64 software. Hardly any of which is going to be recompiled for ARM so it can run slower on a tiny sliver of the market ( crappy windows ARM laptops). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    loopless said:
    Windows on ARM is so pointless. Windows remains somewhat dominant because of the vast library of x86/x64 software. Hardly any of which is going to be recompiled for ARM so it can run slower on a tiny sliver of the market ( crappy windows ARM laptops). 
    Windows is very dominant because it is legitimately good tech that meets the computing needs of 99% of the populace. As I keep telling you, do not look at this from the perspective of an Apple fan with a low opinion of Windows. Look at this from the perspective of people who actually buy, use and like Windows. Just as the release of the iPhone 12 Pro Max didn't magically transform the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra into a product that flat out doesn't work - or make the Galaxy Z Fold 2 a product for which Apple flat out doesn't have a direct competitor - Wintel machines run the same applications today as they did yesterday.

    Also, the idea that Windows needs to run on ARM because macOS runs on it faster is dubious. Let me put it another way ... you do realize that Wintel generally outperformed Macs until now right? Nearly all Macs sold were 2 and 4 core machines that were using Intel's underpowered "mobile" CPUs, yet still had a starting price of $999. So any Wintel machine with 6 or more cores - or even 4 cores that were "performance" instead of "mobile" - outperformed all MacBook Air, most Mac Mini and even entry level MacBook Pro devices. When you consider that Wintel machines over $1000 are also going to generally have Nvidia GeForce GTX or better GPUs, even more so. Even workstations: the Mac Pro and iMac machines top out at 28 cores. There are plenty of Windows and AMD workstations that have far more. 

    Yet people bought them despite their performance because they liked Macs, right? The same: most people are going to still buy Wintel because they like Windows. Even if they don't love it the way that Apple fans love their devices, they still like them. Even if they don't like them because of Windows - they like it because it is a Dell, HP or Asus ROG or Razer - the same applies.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Marvin said:
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.

    The best comparison between Apple M1 and Intel/AMD that I could find. Even if it does contain some gratuitous, immature and hypocritical potshots at Apple. However, those who are angry at those had the same opportunity to make relevant comparisons - M1 chips against Intel and AMD 6 and 8 core chips as well as their 11th gen performance quad core i7 instead of the dual and quad core mobile chips that are in the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and entry level MacBook Pro - that this fellow did.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3600897/tested-how-apples-m1-chip-performs-against-intel-11th-gen-and-amd-ryzen-4000.html

    No shocker: he is very impressed with M1 even if he acknowledged so while gritting his teeth
    No shocker 2: when making relevant comparisons, the M1 does not "run circles around the competition." Instead, the performance Intel and AMD chips do quite well. The single core score of Intel's latest chip, the quad core Core i7-1185G7, was surprising. The multi-core score of the octacore AMD Ryzen 4800U was impressive also.

    Granted these AMD and Intel chips cost a lot more and - with the exception of the 
    Core i7-1185G7 - use a lot more power. It would have been great to see the reviewer talk more about that, but again the folks who have been inundating us with totally false "Wintel will never recover and is doomed!" articles had plenty of chances to do so till now but chose to be Apple cheerleaders instead. 

    But the performance/power ratios here are intriguing. Consider this.
    1. Apple is going to come out with 32 GB Mac Minis with 12 and 16 core CPUs at some point.
    2. Excellent, stable Linux and virtualization solutions are going to come to M1 Macs at some point.

    So ... when that happen, will we see M1 Mac racks deployed in server closets? Will their Intel and AMD web servers running Apache and node.js be replaced with mere Mac Minis? It will be fascinating to check back in a couple of years and see. And maybe that is why Gordon Mah Ung couldn't refrain himself from the unprofessional Apple sniping here. Hopefully the editors/columnists will see this article and use it as the basis for one of their own.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    thttht Posts: 3,952member
    loopless said:
    Windows on ARM is so pointless. Windows remains somewhat dominant because of the vast library of x86/x64 software. Hardly any of which is going to be recompiled for ARM so it can run slower on a tiny sliver of the market ( crappy windows ARM laptops). 
    As the saying can go, transitions can happen very very slowly, then suddenly. The environment for ARM based Windows computers, and ARM based Unix or Linux computing, is almost to the point where ARM systems can take a significant chunk of the PC and server market. For whatever reason, MS really hasn't tried that hard with Windows on ARM, and it's been like 10 years since Surface RT. It's been like hobby to them since ARM was better for their tablet Surface hardware, and they basically did it just for that hardware. And Linux on ARM seems mostly for Raspberry PI "little" hardware.

    But things are starting to pick up now. Intel is basically floundering and lost their fab lead. AMD has to compete with lots of TSMC's other clients for capacity, who are also more monied. ARMH's reference CPU designs that will be shipping 2021 will be close enough to x86 performance. A lot of 2021 smartphone hardware will compete a lot better than 2018, 2019 hardware did. Cloud companies are capable of designing their own ARM server hardware. There are ARM server startups that will be able to compete with x86 server hardware.

    So, ARM hardware is in a situation in 2021 where it can be much much cheaper than x86 hardware, be more power efficient, and perform about the same in both the client space and the server space. If MS actually more freely licenses Windows on ARM, this is where the transition can start happening really fast. The server space will happen of its own accord with Linux, but even there, there needs to push for software to be optimised, but the server hardware is almost to the point of outcompeting x86 server hardware. 

    As far as Parallels, it's for a small niche of customers on Apple Silicon. Customers will pay for it. They hope enough will pay for it to make it a business. Considering how much software often doesn't make the transition, like the vast majority of custom business solutions won't, both they and Apple will appreciate the VM software if Apple Silicon Macs are going to penetrate certain businesses.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 18
    thttht Posts: 3,952member

    cloudguy said:
    The best comparison between Apple M1 and Intel/AMD that I could find. Even if it does contain some gratuitous, immature and hypocritical potshots at Apple. However, those who are angry at those had the same opportunity to make relevant comparisons - M1 chips against Intel and AMD 6 and 8 core chips as well as their 11th gen performance quad core i7 instead of the dual and quad core mobile chips that are in the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and entry level MacBook Pro - that this fellow did.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3600897/tested-how-apples-m1-chip-performs-against-intel-11th-gen-and-amd-ryzen-4000.html

    No shocker: he is very impressed with M1 even if he acknowledged so while gritting his teeth
    No shocker 2: when making relevant comparisons, the M1 does not "run circles around the competition." Instead, the performance Intel and AMD chips do quite well. The single core score of Intel's latest chip, the quad core Core i7-1185G7, was surprising. The multi-core score of the octacore AMD Ryzen 4800U was impressive also.
    Don't think anybody is learning anything new from that article as there have been many many comparison articles and videos that did the exact same thing. And, if you read the Geekbench or SPEC benchmarks, it's the same story. Geekbench and SPEC have rendering sub benches, and you can just look at those.

    I find many of these comparisons inappropriate as they do not really use workflows that 99% of buyers of ultrabooks and small desktop computers would use them for. The vast majority of ultrabook buyers aren't going to be using them for 3D rendering, they aren't going to be using them for gaming, and probably not Adobe stuff either. It's going to be web work and office automation. As boring as it is, reviewers really should look at how well they run MS Office, the monstrous web sites, and compatibility. I'm still raging at my kids' web-based school apps from HMH. They spend 8 hours a day on them, as well as Office365, and it's like being transported back to 1995 when websites were hard coded to 800x600 and they use dumb, text string answer matching. Will this or that new machine make it easier?

    I digress, so they should test, UI responsiveness or latency, the ability to handle running website programs, the ability to run office automation apps, the ability to run communication apps, compatibility with VPN apps, capability to run videos/audio concurrently with other apps, how long the machine lasts, how hot the machines gets, how loud the machine gets under those loads, so on and so forth.

    There is a decent niche of Mac customers who will use these machines for development, so compiler and scripting language performance probably should be tested. Both Geekbench and SPEC have compiler and scripting language sub tests, so you can look there for that. Maybe Handbrake transcoding tasks for Mac mini? Maybe?


    cloudguy said:
    But the performance/power ratios here are intriguing. Consider this.
    1. Apple is going to come out with 32 GB Mac Minis with 12 and 16 core CPUs at some point.
    2. Excellent, stable Linux and virtualization solutions are going to come to M1 Macs at some point.

    So ... when that happen, will we see M1 Mac racks deployed in server closets? Will their Intel and AMD web servers running Apache and node.js be replaced with mere Mac Minis? It will be fascinating to check back in a couple of years and see. 
    I would hope Apple comes out with actual server solution rather than the cloud hosting with shelves of Mac minis. If Ethernet over TB3 or 10G ethernet is available, maybe some customers will have stacks of 5 to 10 Mac minis for cluster jobs in their closet, but Apple needs to push software for that to really work, just like having actual software that can take advantage of blade hardware for server racks. (They aren't going to ship Linux on their machines, right?)

    If they can keep a 16+32 CPU+GPU core SoC under 75 W, they can just have a 10 PCIe slot box and install them like PCI cards, no additional power per PCIe slot needed, just the 75 W from the PCIe slot. But, I think I'd rather they spend their resources on getting a self sustaining gaming ecosystem on Macs and getting AR glasses shipped over the next 3 years.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    So fairly useless at this point without Windows for ARM and absent of so many things that made it useful before.
    Be aware that there is a Youtube video of someone running GTA V on Windows 10 for ARM using this Parallels on a M1 Mac Book Pro

    So thats Windows 10 on ARM emulating x86 code in a virtual machine on a Mac

    And the performance was quite impressive

    So I would expect (if not now - then soon) a lot of x86 code will run
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