Parallels enters version 8, made for OSX 10.8 and Windows 8

Cross-platform provider Parallels is talking up its eighth product which is ironically made for operating systems that are very much into the number eight right now.

Set to arrive in early September, the next version of the world’s most popular virtualisation tool for running Windows on Mac has been upgraded for the latest version of Mac OS – Mountain Lion – and even Microsoft’s Windows 8, which is due for release at the end of October.

For those who don’t know, Parallels is an application for Mac OS X that makes it possible to run other operating systems from within Mac OS X, removing the requirement that Mac users restart their machines and shift into Boot Camp, Apple’s way of running Windows and other operating systems natively on the Mac platform.

With the ability to run other operating systems from inside Mac OS, Windows applications can be run side-by-side with other Mac OS apps, making it easy for people who prefer a Mac but need Windows to work.

Lots of operating systems... while we're running Mac OS.

“People don’t need to make an either / or choice between Mac and Windows because Macs running Parallels Desktop 8 empower people to simultaneously use applications that best suit their needs,” said Birger Steen, CEO of Parallels.

The latest version of Parallels brings with it support for the new Retina displays Apple is beginning to throw into its laptops, making the Windows applications and operating system look as good as Mac OS does, with graphics and fonts that would normally never be updated for Apple’s high-resolution displays now supported.

Windows and other operating systems can be installed quickly, with easy ways of trying out Android, Chrome, and even the preview of Windows 8, at least before it gets released in October.

Other features that are being added include Mountain Lion’s speaking support in Windows apps, Windows application shortcuts on Mac’s Launchpad, gesture support in Windows apps, and even notifications for Windows software in the Mac OS Notification Center.

Performance is one of the areas that is constantly being tweaked in the new versions, and we’re told that Parallels 8 is faster than ever and with more graphics support, making a new Mac one of the better ways to run Windows, as odd a concept as that is.

“We hear amazing stories from people every day,” said Mr. Steen, “from students and teachers who need Windows for classes, and developers working on iOS and Android mobile devices, to business people and parents, who all enjoy the freedom Parallels Desktop for Mac gives them.”

Parallels 8 is available now in two versions, with the regular priced at $79.95 RRP and the “Switch To Mac” edition priced at $99.95 and arriving with a cable that helps to make the transition from a PC much easier, even copying the files found in Windows directories and making Windows look just like it would on a PC, except on your new Mac.