Convert Mac Programs into iPad Apps

How often do you have an iPad in your hands, but wish it had the power of a program on your Mac (or PC)?  While iPads have reinvented computing for many, the apps are often severely reduced from the power of similar desktop programs – often from the same company that has released the app.  Now, there is a great solution on the market.

Parallels made its name with a fantastic program that allows a Mac to run Windows programs (which we use to run the accounting program that keeps track of the cash for my VC firm).  They have now come out with a similar concept for the iPad, which allows the iPad to access and control programs that are actually running on a Mac or PC.  The important trick is that Parallels Access presents what is running on the desktop computer as “Applified” – much more like an iPad app than a computer program.  So, it is much easier to control it using the iPad’s touch interface.

Parallels Access is expensive at $80 – this is not one of those apps that you download just to see if you like it – but I already have allocated it one of the cherished spots on my iPad’s home page.  This is a fantastic solution.

Here is the GigaOM review of Parallels Access [Link].

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

8/28/2013
Parallels Access
SUMMARY:Remote desktop apps aren’t new for Apple’s iPad, but Parallels Access is a new twist on the theme: The $80 software claims to “appify” Windows and Mac apps with support for the iPad’s native gestures and swipes.

Well known for its virtualization software, Parallels has a new product that effectively lets iPad owners use full Windows or Mac 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.

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