Today, popular virtualization software Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac becomes available to new and current users. The flagship feature is support for DirectX in virtual Windows machines via Apple’s proprietary Metal graphics API. Other additions include a handful of new macOS Catalina-related features and improvements to transitions between Mac and Windows software running on the same machine.
When we wrote about Parallels Desktop 14 around this time last year, we asked about Metal support. The application then still relied entirely on OpenGL in macOS, and Apple had already announced that continued support for OpenGL would end. We were told it was coming, and we were not misled: the new version of Parallels Desktop now supports DirectX 9, 10, and 11 via Metal. Previously, DirectX 9 and 10 were supported via OpenGL and DirectX 11 was not supported at all. Parallels’ rep noted to us that “Metal and DirectX work best in Catalina.”
Apple’s new macOS Catalina software for Macs launches this fall, and Parallels Desktop 15 supports a few of the key features of that new release. That includes Sign In with Apple, which can now be used to authenticate with a Parallels account. Catalina also means you can use your iPad as an external display alongside a Mac via Apple’s new Sidecar feature—and Parallels makes this work not just for macOS applications but for Windows as well. Apple Pencil support is included for both environments.
There’s a plethora of additional features both Catalina-related and otherwise—Bluetooth low-energy support, the ability to drag items from Safari or Photos in macOS to your virtual Windows machine, and more—which you can read about on the Parallels website. But one of the recurring themes we noticed during a presentation of the new software by Parallels was improvements to how Coherence mode works.
Coherence facilitates seamless movement between Windows and macOS apps; it essentially puts Windows apps in macOS windows, which includes macOS-like behaviors, a place in the Mac’s dock, and so on. Sometimes, this might create confusion for users unfamiliar with it, so many small aspects of the transitions and workflow for Coherence have been improved for clarity and efficiency.
Additionally, Parallels Desktop 15 Pro and Business editions now feature a Virtual Platform Trusted Module, which is “a new virtual machine hardware to VM configuration required by Windows to enable additional security features.”
Ottawa-based Corel acquired Bellevue, Wash.-based Parallels in December. Corel also includes WinZip, CorelDraw, PaintShop Pro, WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and numerous other software products in its portfolio. This is the first major Parallels release since the acquisition.
Perpetual license upgrades to Parallels Desktop 15 start at $49.99. Meanwhile, new subscriptions start at $79.99 annually while new perpetual licenses start at $99.99.