VMware has updated its popular virtualization package VMware Fusion to version 5, splitting the app into two tiers with a standard version and a Professional version. Ready for the forthcoming Windows 8, Fusion 5 is optimized for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion — meaning that it can utilize AirPlay Mirroring to stream Windows apps to an HDTV while also providing support for USB 3.0 ports and Retina displays. The new release also offers improved support for Macs equipped with 16 GB of memory or more, faster reboot performance and 3D graphics, and optimized power management for longer battery life. New features include an updated virtual machine library for a more seamless transition between multiple operating systems, a graphics driver for Linux 3D desktops, and an embedded learning center for immediate support.
The Fusion 5 Professional version provides the same features as the standard app, but it adds the capability of creating an encrypted virtual machine image that can prevent users from changing the settings and ensures compatibility with “more than 200 other operating systems.” Additionally, the Professional version includes a commercial license for VMware Player 5, which enables you to deploy restricted virtual machines on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. You can upgrade to Fusion 5 Professional from Fusion 3 and 4 for $49.99, and this price is also offered to existing users of Parallels Desktop (which will be debuting its next version in early September). If you purchased Fusion 4 after 25 July 2012, you’re eligible for a free upgrade to the standard version of Fusion 5. ($49.99/99.99 new, 203 MB, release notes)