You may not have Siri in OS X yet, but the new Parallels Desktop 11 release allows you to make use of Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant.
Of all the ways to run Windows on a Mac, Parallels Desktop is my favorite because it just works. It's fast, it's reliable, and there's no need to futz about with confusing setting or convoluted setup processes.
Along with your Mac and a copy of Parallels Desktop 11 you will also need an installation of Windows 10. Installation of Parallels Desktop 11 is a breeze (and it's even simpler if you are upgrading from a previous version), and even installing Windows 10 onto your Mac is a breeze.
You're then ready to use Windows 10 on your Mac.
When it comes to Cortana, Parallels Desktop 11 allows you to interact with the virtual assistant in three ways:
- From the Windows 10 desktop
- From Windows 10 with voice control
- From an OS X application
If there's a Windows 10 killer feature, Cortana is it, and with Parallels Desktop 11 you have direct access to it from the OS X desktop.
Along with tight integration of Cortana into OS X, Parallels Desktop 11 brings with it the following features:
- Quick Look viewer for Windows docs
- Travel Mode battery extender
- Use OS X Location Services in Windows apps
- Easy Windows 10 upgrade
- OS X 10.11 El Capitan ready
There's also numerous performance improvements:
- Boot up and shut down times in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 up to 50 percent faster
- 15 percent increase in battery life
- Windows performance up by up to 20 percent (based on PassMark performance tests)
- Moving files between OS X and Windows is 5 percent faster
- Virtual machines suspend up to 20 percent faster
For developers who need access to Windows within OS X comes the new Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition. In addition to all the tools already built into Parallels Desktop 11, the Pro Edition adds:
- Support for popular developer and testing tools
- Advanced debugging and network tools
- Business cloud support sharing
- More powerful virtual machines (up to 16 vCPUs and 64 vGB of RAM)
Foe those wanting more support, centralized management, and unified volume licensing keys there's also a Business Edition available.
Parallels Desktop 11 costs $79.99 (an upgrade from a previous version is $49.99) while the Pro Edition and Business Edition cost $99.99 per seat per year.