iPad, Windows and Mac: Parallels Access, a new iPad app from the creator of our favourite Windows virtualisation software on OS X, makes it easier to use desktop software on your Apple tablet. With one part remote access and one part native iPad app, you get a desktop experience on a tablet that almost feels like the real thing.
To make it all function, you install a server app on any Mac or Windows computer you want to use on your iPad and log into your Parallels account. Afterwards, do the same on your iPad and connect to your computer of choice. The server app will change your computer to iPad resolution and set all your apps to full screen. You can then access any running (or not running) apps from a home screen-like display on your iPad. While you might think it would be difficult to move through your desktop apps like a tablet interface, you’ll find it easier than expected. Natural gestures apply to desktop apps. Parallels Access translates them automatically and desktop apps respond promptly when streamed over a local network.
While Parallels accomplished a pretty tough feat by making desktop apps actually usable on your tablet, the first release of Access still comes with a few minor issues. Menus can be tough to access, especially on an iPad mini. Access also fails to restore your machine perfectly once you stop using it. Nevertheless, the remnants of the change are pretty minor.
If you’re looking for a way to use desktop apps on your tablet, Access provides near-instant setup and ease of use. Whether or not it’s worth the cost will depend on your needs.You have to pay $79.99 per connected machine per year (though the Windows client is free while it is in beta). Customers who purchase the newly-released Parallels Desktop 9 receive one free six-month licence for Mac.