Parallels Access lets you remotely run Windows and OS X desktop software from an iPad, as if they were native apps

By on August 28, 2013, 12:31 PM

Parallels is best known for its virtualization software that lets people run Windows from within OS X. Now the company is stepping into a different -- and much more crowded -- space with Parallels Access, a remote access solution for controlling your Windows or Mac computer from an iPad. Unlike existing players, however, Parallels says its software “applifies” full-fledged Mac and Windows apps so they run as if they were made for iPad.

The setup process is rather straightforward. Users are required to download an iPad client and run an agent on a Mac or Windows PC. The real highlight comes from the way things are presented once you launch Access on your iPad; rather than just mirroring your computer screen and translating touch into cursor actions, the software detects applications on your desktop and presents them with a grid-style launcher, laid out like other iOS apps.

Desktop apps launch maximized to a full screen view, which gives a native feel to them, and Access will overlay gesture controls to enable iOS-like touch gestures including one finger scroll, pinch to zoom, two finger tap for right click, and triple tap to select. The app lets users copy and paste content from the computer to the iPad, the other way around, or even between computers if you are accessing more than one.

By default, the app launcher shows your most commonly used desktop applications, but you can add and delete those from the home grid as you see fit. For everything else there’s a handy search field.

There’s also an app switcher feature to move between desktop applications with ease, and of course you can always go into full desktop mode and use the mouse pointer whenever finger input just won’t cut it. The keyboard shows up when needed with dedicated keys for functions and arrows tacked onto the standard iOS version.

Initial impressions around the web are mostly positive, though they do note that the experience isn’t always frustration free -- depending on the application, inevitably you’ll find yourself tapping on elements that aren't finger friendly, but Access minimizes this by interpreting taps that are close to buttons so you hit the right one.

More than early software glitches the primary letdown seems to be pricing. Parallels Access will set you back $80 per year for each computer being accessed. The Mac agent is available immediately with a 14-day free trial, while the Windows agent is currently in beta and is available at no charge for a more generous 90 days.




User Comments: 4

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1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

I think this is a great effort, but I think it should be $50 per year vs $80.

OliTheG OliTheG said:

So let me get this straight.

You buy an iPad, then add £80 on top a year, and you get a stripped down, less powerful version OF A WINDOWS 8 TABLET?

This is the crap that will be spewed from Fanboys everywhere. "OOOH. WINDOWS APPS. BETRERERRRR DAN SIR FACE AHAHAHAHHAHAHA wheresmywalletohitgotnickedohwellIhavenomoremoneyanyway"

You need to spend £200 more, and you still get less, just a bit less.

Nope.

Moderator note: OliTheG, please do not shout.

Guest said:

So let me get this straight.

You buy an iPad, then add £80 on top a year, and you get a stripped down, less powerful version OF A WINDOWS 8 TABLET?

This is the crap that will be spewed from Fanboys everywhere. "OOOH. WINDOWS APPS. BETRERERRRR DAN SIR FACE AHAHAHAHHAHAHA wheresmywalletohitgotnickedohwellIhavenomoremoneyanyway"

You need to spend £200 more, and you still get less, just a bit less.

Nope.

Ye spend £200 more then you cant use windows apps on a mac so your 1 missing out on the mac software you want and 2 why wouldn't you abuse the advantage plus if you cant afford £80 a year then why spend the money on a ipad if you wanted to get use windows software?

If you really want a ipad with some windows software than parallels is amazing specially as can choose not to use windows dumbed down RT version or the way over expensive Pro tablet.

If I had a ipad I would abuse this feature to my hearts content as its made to make things more simple you gotta be dumb to think its for windows fanboys.

Mallok Mallok said:

An annual fee? Pass.

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