Whoa: Parallels Access “turns” Windows, Mac apps into iPad apps

Well known for its virtualization software, Parallels has a new product that effectively lets iPad owners use full Windows(s msft) or Mac(s aapl) applications on their tablet. Called Parallels Access, the new $80 software is a twist on the remote desktop paradigm, focusing more on the app experience. The company says the software “appifies” desktop software so that it appears the titles were made for iPad.
I was a bit skeptical when reading this claim but a closer look at the Parallels Access demonstration video backs it up:
It looks like Parallels put some effort into bringing the iOS swipes, gestures and copy/paste functionality into Access, which is key: I’ve used remote desktop software from various mobile devices and while functional, they’re often not optimized for a touch environment. Here’s a list of the specific tweaks and features that help raise the bar:

  • App Launcher: Start any desktop application, Windows or Mac, as if it were made for an iPad
  • App Switcher: Switch between desktop applications with ease, literally going from app-to-app in a tap
  • iPad native select and drag: Select words and graphics with one finger, on Mac or Windows applications, then drag, drop and go
  • iPad native copy and paste: Select and copy from your desktop and paste it anywhere – between iPad apps, or even from desktop to desktop
  • SmartTap and magnifying glass: Tap with precision inside your desktop applications, so you never miss a thing
  • iPad native scroll for desktop applications: It’s scrolling that just works
  • Desktop keyboard on iPad: Shows up just when you need it, contains Windows and Command keys too
  • Full screen for desktop applications: Maximize your screen real estate on the iPad, use every inch of your Retina® display
  • Unmatched access: Even with low bandwidth, Parallels Access makes it work

Parallels Access is sold as a subscription for $79.99 per year. That’s not the price per iPad but the price per PC or Mac you want to remotely access from your Apple tablet. The company is offering a 14-day free trial for Mac owners while the PC version is still in beta and free to test.