Mac users who run Windows or other OSes in a virtual machine using Parallels Desktop should note a new release is now available. Parallels Desktop 7 is fully Lion compatible so you can take full advantage of full screen mode, Mission Control and LaunchPad using your Windows programs installed within the new version.
There are a lot of new features in Parallels Desktop 7, and the folks at Parallels gave me a first-hand demonstration of many of them. The speed of the new Parallels version running Windows 7 in a virtual machine was impressive, as Windows programs running on the Mac desktop (Coherence mode) were as fast as native Mac programs. It is now possible to share the Mac web cam with Windows, and I witnessed a demo of both Facetime and a Windows program both using the web cam at the same time. You can also install multiple versions of OS X using Parallels for software testing.
Most users will end up installing a Windows 7 virtual machine using Parallels, and that is now easier than ever before. Previous versions of Parallels required you to bring your own copy of Windows to the installation, but that's a thing of the past. The installation process now makes it possible to buy and download Windows 7 from within the Parallels program.
Those of you running Parallels 5 or 6 can upgrade to version 7 for $49.99, and the full price is $79.99. The new version is compatible with a new version of Mobile Parallels for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch giving expanded remote control ability (Mac and Windows) to those devices. Existing owners of Mobile Parallels get a free upgrade (available around Sept. 6), and new owners can get a special price of $4.99. The standard price of the mobile version will be $19.99 after the promotion ends.