Parallels Desktop 15 Switches to Apple's Metal Graphics API, Gains Sidecar, Keychain, and Drag and Drop Support
Parallels today announced version 15 of its desktop virtualization software for Mac, offering DirectX 11 support via Apple Metal, native support for Sidecar in macOS Catalina, and several other enhancements.
Parallels Desktop 15 is the first iteration of the cross-platform software to support DirectX 11 using Apple's hardware accelerated Metal graphics API.
The switch to Metal should bring a noticeable performance boost – Parallels claims 3D graphics rendering is up to 15 percent faster, while Microsoft Office apps should launch up to 80 percent faster.
The enhanced graphics support also expands the number of Windows apps that users can run on their Mac, such as Autodesk 3ds Max 2020, Lumion, ArcGIS Pro, and Master Series.
Gamers meanwhile can look forward to running their favorite titles at faster speeds, with the likes of FIFA 19, Age of Empires Definitive Edition, Fallout 4, Madden NFL 19, Crysis 3, and Mark of the Ninja: Remastered all receiving special mention.
Once macOS Catalina launches in the fall, Parallels' Sidecar support will mean users can wirelessly connect their iPad to their Mac to use as a second display in Windows. There's also new Touch Bar options for Apple Pencil, including Toggle between Pen, Eraser and Mouse modes. Parallels says support for additional Catalina features is currently in development and will be introduced around the release of macOS 10.15.
Notably, the virtualization software is offering better integration with macOS more generally, such as the ability to use screenshot previews in Windows applications and the ability to drag images from Safari, Photos, and other stock Mac apps.
Additionally, Parallels Desktop 15 supports a new category of Bluetooth devices, enabling users to connect an Xbox One Controller, Logitech Craft keyboard, IRISPen, some IoT devices (such as smart home appliances and smart bands) and more. There's also support for Bluetooth Low Energy, making it possible to run an Xbox game in a Windows 10 virtual machine.
Elsewhere, there's now support for the Share menu in Finder, so it's possible to send files from macOS using a Windows email application, and there's now Keychain support, offering quicker login to websites and apps within Windows. A more comprehensive list of changes and improvements in Parallels Desktop 15 is available here.
Parallels Desktop 15 requires macOS Mojave or later to run, and can be purchased for a one-off fee of $99.99, with the more feature-laden Pro and Business editions available at $99 per year.
Users with older versions of Parallels Desktop (including Pro and Business Editions) can upgrade for $49.99, while college students in the United States, Canada, Germany and UK have access to the reduced price Student Edition. A 14-day trial of the virtualization suite is also available.