Parallels early Thursday announced Parallels Desktop 9, the latest version of the company’s virtualization software that lets Mac users run Windows, Linux, and recent versions of OS X as virtual machines.
Parallels Desktop 9 arrives a little less than a year after Version 8 and focuses primarily on further integrating the user experience between OS X and Windows environments. New features include the ability to share a single copy of data stored on various cloud services such as Dropbox and SkyDrive between host and guest operating systems; Windows integration of various OS X features such as on-the-fly dictionary lookup; and Power Nap support, enabling Windows apps inside virtual machines to receive the same periodic updates as their OS X counterparts while the computer sleeps.
Windows 8 also gets some attention in Desktop 9. Users running a Windows 8 or 8.1 virtual machine can enable a Start Menu replacement (something heretofore only available via third party software add-ons) and even run Modern UI (a.k.a. Metro) applications in separate windows on the Desktop.
New customers can pick up Parallels Desktop 9 for $79.99 while existing users can upgrade for $49.99.
Update: The Parallels website is still displaying information related to Parallels Desktop 8. Info for Desktop 9 should be available shortly.
We’ll have a full review of the software in the coming days, and we’ll be working with The Mac Observer to perform benchmarks comparing the performance difference between Parallels Desktop 8 and 9. Stay tuned!