Parallels Desktop, the leading virtualization software for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 6, bringing with it an iOS client that allows you to control your virtual machines straight from your iDevice. This differs from vanilla VNC because it taps directly into the VM, so it won’t seem like you are using an OS from within an OS from within an OS. (Plus, If you get a BSOD from that deep, you’ll be stuck in digital-limbo for 50 years.)
I imagine that the application would be somewhat useless on the iPhone’s smaller touchscreen, but it could actually be pretty usable on an iPad, assuming the lag is bearable. You can run applications in full (IE 6.0 anyone?), and access your VMs from anywhere in the world, which could prove to be a valuable feature for some.
Parallels Mobile lets you:
- Access any virtual machine running in Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac
- Use any Windows application in your virtual machine, from Internet Explorer to Outlook
- Remotely start, stop and reset virtual machines
- Stay connected via WiFi or 3G networks
- Access your Windows applications from anywhere over the Internet
- Optimize for either speed or graphics performance
The app itself is free, but requires a registered copy of Parallels Desktop 6 to work – which costs $79.99. If you need virtualization software for school, home, or work, there are free alternatives; but Parallels has extra features and generally better performance. For those hopelessly attached to their mobile gadgets, the addition of an iOS client may make Parallels 6 worth the extra green.
Here’s an intense video of the app in action.