$80
Apps

Parallels Software Parallels Desktop 9

Well, this isn’t terribly surprising: with a new version of OS X just around the corner, Parallels Software has a new version of its Windows-running Mac software ready to go. Parallels Desktop 9 ($80) will be available on September 5 as a fresh download, or can be grabbed now as an upgrade to older versions. As with every new edition, version 9 brings increased speed and fresh features, plus support for the latest PC and Mac operating systems, including the yet-to-be-released Windows 8.1 and Mavericks.

Many of the new features in Parallels 9 bring Apple-developed Mac functionality to the Windows side of things. For example, PowerNap can now update Windows apps in the background, and tapping on a word with three-fingers brings up the dictionary, just like in OS X. There’s also support for Firewire and Thunderbolt accessories, with no extra hassle. As for speed, Parallels claims 40% better disk performance, 25% faster virtual machine shutdowns, and a 15% boost to 3-D graphics and web browsing. There are also optimizations for iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive, among the many other updates.

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