Every year, Parallels releases a new version of its eponymous PC emulator for Macs, and with OS X Yosemite just around the corner, so is Parallels Desktop 10 ($80). Boasting Yosemite support and “cool new features of Yosemite in your Windows apps,” including Mac-style social media sharing within Windows, version 10 also promises the typical speed and performance increases—this time, 48% faster opening of Windows documents, 50% improvements in speed, and 30% better battery life than before. You now have the ability to easily optimize the Windows virtual machine for specific purposes such as productivity or gaming; improved virtual disk and 10% better memory management systems reduce the app’s footprint on your computer, as well.
The core of Parallels Desktop remains its ability to run a complete Windows environment—or just individual apps—from inside OS X, without needing to use Boot Camp to restart your Mac and lose the OS X interface. All versions of Windows from 3.11 to 8.1 are supported, as are numerous non-Microsoft OSes such as Android, Chrome, and various flavors of Linux. In addition to the under-the-hood tweaks, Parallels 10 adds Yosemite-specific features such as iCloud Drive, iPhoto Library, and iPhone calling support. You can even keep Windows 8’s famous Start Screen grid superimposed on your Mac desktop if you want to integrate the two OSes together. Parallels’ $80 asking price drops to $50 for upgrading users of versions 8 or 9, and $40 for students.