Parallels Desktop 15, the latest version of the virtualization software is launching today on macOS. This is the first major release since the acquisition of Parallels by the Canadian software company Corel, which was announced back in December. Parallels Desktop remains a great hassle-free solution to run Windows in a virtual machine on a Mac, and the latest version is ready for macOS Catalina and brings significant performance increases thanks to DirectX 11 support via Apple’s Metal API.
“Parallels made significant investments to support Apple Metal API, so today our customers can enjoy the fastest and most efficient version of Parallels Desktop to date,” said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Support at Parallels in a press release. “Now Parallels Desktop 15 users can experience demanding computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) applications and Windows PC games that were previously unavailable. In addition, there are planned integration features with macOS Catalina—including support for Sidecar and Apple Pencil— offering customers our most comprehensive merging of Mac and Windows ever.”
As you may know, Apple announced the deprecation of OpenGL in macOS Mojave last year, pushing developers to embrace its Metal API instead. Parallels Desktop 15 now supports DirectX 9 and 10 via Metal instead of OpenGL, and it also introduces support for DirectX 11 via Metal as well. Parallels says that DirectX 11 performance will be best on the upcoming macOS Catalina shipping later this fall, and compared to Parallels Desktop 14 the company promises up to 80% faster Microsoft Office application startup, up to 15% faster 3D graphics improvements, as well as a faster and more responsive UI.
The move to Metal also brings support for apps and games that were previously unavailable with Parallels Desktop, including several CAD/CAM apps that use DirectX11 such as Lumion 6.5, Autodesk 3ds Max 2020, and ArcGIS Pro 2.3. On the gaming front, it will be possible to play recent AAA games such as FIFA 19 and Madden NFL on macOS Catalina, and Bluetooth Low Energy support in Parallels Desktop 15 will make the Xbox One Wireless Controller work right out of the box in a Windows virtual machine on a Mac.
Parallels really deserve credit for leveraging new macOS features ahead their public release, and Parallels Desktop 15 will support the new “Sidecar” feature allowing Mac users to use their iPads as a second screen. With Sidecar, Mac users will be able to use Apple Pencil tilt and double-tap on apps such as CorelDRAW, Corel Painter, and Microsoft SketchPad.
Parallels Desktop 15 will also continue to blur the lines between Mac and Windows apps, and the Coherence mode allowing users to run Mac and Windows apps side by side has been improved in this release. It’s now possible to drag and drop screenshots previews, images from Safari and the Photos to Windows apps, or email files via the Windows 10 Mail app right from the macOS Finder. You can also still use the MacBook Pro Touch Bar with Windows apps, or use your printer or any other USB accessories without having to configure anything.
Parallels Desktop 15 is available today as a free upgrade for customers using Parallels Desktop 14 with an annual subscription. New subscriptions are currently $79.99 a year for Parallels Desktop 15, and $99.99 a year for the Pro and Business Editions. Customers with a perpetual licence can also upgrade from any previous edition to Parallels Desktop 15 for just $49.99.
In addition to free updates, Parallels Desktop subscriptions also include a concurrent subscription to Parallels Toolbox for Windows and Mac. This year, the collection of 30+ one-click tools adds a Clipboard history and an energy saver on Mac as well as Break Time and Download audio tools for Windows.
If you have yet to try Parallels Desktop, you can download a 14-day trial from Parallels’ website. The virtualisation software is a must have for Mac users looking for a seamless Mac and Windows integration on the same machine, and the performance improvements coming with DirectX 11 support should make Parallels Desktop 15 a very solid update.