This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2015-08-20 at 1:25 p.m.
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Parallels Desktop 11

by Agen G. N. Schmitz

Boasting speed improvements of up to 50 percent and added support for both Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Parallels Desktop [1] has been updated to version 11 and divided into two editions — the standard Parallels Desktop edition for home and student use and a Pro Edition that’s designed for developers. A third Business Edition [2] is also available with IT administration features. All three editions bring always-on support for the Cortana voice-controlled personal assistant, a Travel Mode that can help extend battery life by up to 25 percent, Quick Look for Windows, Force Touch gesture support, improved printing support, and support for Mac location services to Windows applications.

The Pro Edition integrates developer tools such as Docker, Visual Studio (plug-in), Chef, and Jenkins; offers support for Vagrant; provides the option of adding user profiles to fit specific testing scenarios; and adds a headless mode for running virtual machines in the background without a user interface. It also includes a free subscription to Parallels Access [3]. The Business Edition (previously known as Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition) includes these features other than Parallels Access, while also enabling centralized administration and management for larger deployments. Parallels provides a handy comparison chart of its three editions.

The standard edition of Parallels Desktop is priced at $79.99 for a one-time purchase, while the Pro and Business Editions are available only as a $99.99 annual subscription. If you have a license for either Parallels Desktop 9 or 10, you can upgrade to version 11 of either the standard edition for $49.99 or the Pro Edition for a $49.99 yearly subscription. (Ars Technica [4] notes that the $49.99 Pro Edition upgrade price is for every year going forward; new Parallels customers will have to pay $99.99 this year and for subsequent upgrades.) If you purchased and activated a license for Parallels Desktop 10 on or after 29 July 2015, you’re eligible [5] for a free upgrade. You can get a free 14-day trial [6] of the standard Parallels Desktop edition, but you’ll need to provide an email address. ($79.99 new for standard edition, $99.99 annual subscription for Pro/Business Edition, $49.99 upgrade)