Virtualization software from Parallels has done a remarkable job of letting Mac users run Windows software on their Mac right alongside their Mac programs. Windows programs simply appear as Mac programs. Now they've done something similar for the iPad. Their new app and service, called Parallels Access ($79.99/year), lets you run Windows and Mac software programs on your iPad. Your computer needs to be on and accessible via remote connection, but the genius of the Parallels app is that these programs act like iPad apps, such that you can control all of the functions in the same way you would any other app using all the gestures that are so familiar to you.
In some ways, Parallels Access is similar to remote access services and apps that are already available to let you access your computer remotely via your iPad, such as GoToMyPC and LogMeIn. But what makes Parallels Access different is that instead of your iPad being a window onto your desktop computer, the programs on your computer simply appear as apps on you iPad. By default, the app automatically adds apps for those programs that you use the most.
According to the press release, which you can view on MacDailyNews, key features and capabilities of Parallels Access include:
- App Launcher: Start any desktop application, Windows or Mac, as if it were made for an iPad
- App Switcher: Switch between desktop applications with ease, literally going from app-to-app in a tap
- iPad native select and drag: Select words and graphics with one finger, on Mac or Windows applications, then drag, drop, and go
- iPad native copy and paste: Select and copy from your desktop and paste it anywhere—between iPad apps, or even from desktop to desktop
- SmartTap and magnifying glass: Tap with precision inside your desktop applications, so you never miss a thing
- iPad native scroll for desktop applications: It’s scrolling that just works
- Desktop keyboard on iPad: Shows up just when you need it, contains Windows and Command keys too
- Full screen for desktop applications: Maximize your screen real estate on the iPad, use every inch of your Retina® display
- Unmatched access: Even with low bandwidth, Parallels Access makes it work
In addition to downloading the Parallels Access app, you'll also need to download an app to your desktop computer.
The app/service is pricey, but if you need the functionality, it's well worth the price. Especially if you need to get work done while traveling.
You can read a hands-on review on Macworld.