Parallels Desktop for Mac Hits the Big 4.0

By  |  Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 8:27 am

parallels-logoParallels Desktop for Mac was the first software product that let you run virtualized copies of Windows within OS X on a Mac. It was a feat which created the closest thing in existence to an ideal computing platform, as far as I’m concerned. But Parallels ended up in fierce competition with VMWare’s Fusion, and version 2.0 of Fusion was the most highly-evolved way to run Windows on a Mac.

The rivalry between Parallels and Fusion remains one of the coolest ones in computing: Both of these nifty products keep getting better. And today, Parallels is back with Desktop for Mac 4.0.

Parallels says that the new version includes more than fifty enhancements, but as a Parallels user from the start, I’m less interested in sheer number of new features and more interested in two areas which are a challenge for all virtualization products, and ones in which Fusion has seemed to have the edge: performance and laptop battery life. I haven’t tested them yet, but Parallels says that performance has improved by up to fifty percent and battery life is better by up to twenty percent compared to previous editions of Parallels.

I’m using both Parallels and Fusion and will do a formal comparison at some point; Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng has a good look at Parallels 4.0 up right now. The new version is $80 for new buyers, $40 for upgraders, and free for folks who bought Parallels since September 1st.

Here are a couple of images from Parallels’ online demo.




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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Kelly Jones Says:

    Didn’t Virtual PC (originally from Connectix and then Microsoft) run on OSX before Parallels?

  2. Harry McCracken Says:


    Despite its name, Virtual PC didn’t use modern virtualization techniques to make Windows work (the advent of Intel Macs is what made that possible). But it did let you run Windows on a Mac, albeit in a manner that was ultimately not all that satisfying. Parallels was the first application that did the job in a way that feels like you’re really running Windows rather than a fuzzy rough equivalent….