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Summary:

Remote desktop apps aren’t new for Apple’s iPad, but Parallels Access is a new twist on the theme: The $80 software claims to “appify” Windows and Mac apps with support for the iPad’s native gestures and swipes.

Parallels Access

Well known for its virtualization software, Parallels has a new product that effectively lets iPad owners use full Windows or Mac applications on their tablet. Called Parallels Access, the new $80 software is a twist on the remote desktop paradigm, focusing more on the app experience. The company says the software “appifies” desktop software so that it appears the titles were made for iPad.

I was a bit skeptical when reading this claim but a closer look at the Parallels Access demonstration video backs it up:

It looks like Parallels put some effort into bringing the iOS swipes, gestures and copy/paste functionality into Access, which is key: I’ve used remote desktop software from various mobile devices and while functional, they’re often not optimized for a touch environment. Here’s a list of the specific tweaks and features that help raise the bar:

  • App Launcher: Start any desktop application, Windows or Mac, as if it were made for an iPad
  • App Switcher: Switch between desktop applications with ease, literally going from app-to-app in a tap
  • iPad native select and drag: Select words and graphics with one finger, on Mac or Windows applications, then drag, drop and go
  • iPad native copy and paste: Select and copy from your desktop and paste it anywhere – between iPad apps, or even from desktop to desktop
  • SmartTap and magnifying glass: Tap with precision inside your desktop applications, so you never miss a thing
  • iPad native scroll for desktop applications: It’s scrolling that just works
  • Desktop keyboard on iPad: Shows up just when you need it, contains Windows and Command keys too
  • Full screen for desktop applications: Maximize your screen real estate on the iPad, use every inch of your Retina® display
  • Unmatched access: Even with low bandwidth, Parallels Access makes it work

Parallels Access is sold as a subscription for $79.99 per year. That’s not the price per iPad but the price per PC or Mac you want to remotely access from your Apple tablet. The company is offering a 14-day free trial for Mac owners while the PC version is still in beta and free to test.

  1. “$79.99 per year” ?? I would consider it, when it would cost that much once and for all. Plus moderate update costs. But witth this price structure I will stay off.

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    1. Agreed, that’s a bit steep when most folks are used to buying an app and not a subscription. Still, I may give it a trial.

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      1. I manage large scale vmware environments and have used various apps on my Nexus 7 and it’s so so. I also ran PocketCloud to a desktop also mediocre results on both Android and iOS. You always get that stuck Windows key that only can be fixed with a reboot. Vmware’s attempts to iPadify vcenter totally suck too. If this thing works with vcenter even a fraction better than what I’ve tried in the past $79.99 would be a steal.

        My 2 cents

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        1. You can fix the stuck Windows key problem without a reboot. Open the onscreen keyboard from Accessibility (or whatever its called) and toggle the Windows key on and off.

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  2. But if you’ve got a terminal server then surely iTap RDP or one of the other free RDP clients would be better. If not why not use Log Me In Free or one of the other 3rd party connection tools that are available? If it was free then I would agree.

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  3. 80 bucks a year seems steep. but msft (whoever runs it) should take note. They boycotted iOS and android tablets – no office suite, opening the door for new players.

    And 80 bucks may not be so bad, if msft comes out with office for tablets in a year.

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  4. I’ve spent the last hour trying to get it to work. Kept crashing on both ends. It seems like a glorified itap RDP client.

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  5. New Apple ad to respond to Microsoft’s misleading “iPads can’t do anything” ads:

    (iPad and Surface side-by-side)

    Surface: “I can run any Windows applications… well, on the Pro version I can.”

    iPad: “That’s nice. I can run any Windows applications, and OS X applications, AND any iOS apps!”

    Surface: (Whimpers in the corner)

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  6. The real cost of using Parallels in this way is much higher than $80 per year. Apple now on a schedule of updating the software once a year and with each new update Parallels needs to be upgraded at about $50 bringing the cost to $130 dollars per year. This is way too much to run Windows or OSX apps on an iPad.

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  7. Love the tech, but that price is atrocious even if it was a one-time purchase.

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  8. Too expensive and not much more functionality compared to existing RDP apps.

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  9. Appears to work great except audio from the ipad to the desktop. Does the app have two way audio?

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