Both VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop Have Been Updated

Along with Apple’s recent release of Mountain Lion, the two main virtualization software makers Parallels and VMware have now updated their apps to take advantage of the new OS’s capabilities.

Parallels launches Desktop 8 for Mac:

Parallels on Thursday announced the launch of Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, the latest generation of its applications that lets users run Windows on Mac computers. Current users can upgrade immediately for $50; new users will have to wait until September 4.

This new release looks great. I’ve owned both VMWare and Parallels over the years and lately I’ve been settling in on Parallels because the graphics capabilities worked better for my needs, which are primarily based around running Revit on my Mac. Of particular interest are the use of the dictation tool in both Mac and Windows, and it’s at least 25% faster than the previous version.

VMware launches ‘Fusion 5’:

VMware today announced the immediate availability of VMware Fusion 5, the latest version of the company’s virtualization software that allows users to run Windows and other operating systems virtualized alongside their native OS X operating systems. Optimized for both OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8, Fusion 5 contains over 70 new features.

For those of you who are on the Mac and need to run the occasional Windows app (like Revit, Vasari or Grasshopper), now is a great time to go with either VMWare or Parallels. Both companies are really competing with each other for your purchase. I think it’s really a toss-up between the two. They’ve been leapfrogging eachother in their respective releases. Read up on both and decide for yourself.

To be clear, you don’t have to own one of these apps to access Windows on your Mac. You can do that through Boot Camp already. But if you want to just launch Windows apps natively in the Mac OS, this is the way to do it without rebooting. They behave just like any other Mac app. It should also be noted you’ll need to purchase a standalone copy of Windows on top of these for the complete package. Both new releases from Parallels and VMware support the forthcoming Windows 8.