I am writing this review and rating it only 3 stars, but I continue to love Parallels. I actually hope that others will buy Parallels 9 and then call, write, and chat with the support team to complain about the loss of Parallels Mobile and its replacement with a more expensive, but more functional version called Parallels Access. Hopefully, people reaching out and complaining will push them to re-visit their idea.
So, here's my review of the actual software.
Parallels makes upgrading easy. I just popped in the Desktop 9 CD, then realized that they will let me download it. I prefer to download as the CD will never survive in my house. If I ever needed to re-install, then I will have to have it. So, I downloaded the software and hit install. It found my Parallels 8 and replaced it. All of my OS's are still there.
Now my Dropbox and Google drive docs are available on the Windows machine. This may seem like nothing, but I can access my Photo Stream, my iCloud Docs (which I don't use), and my Google Drive docs straight from my Windows machine without having to create shares and links or by installing and mirroring the same data on the Windows machine. This is very nice and makes it much easier for me to update a file and know it will be pushed to Google Drive or Dropbox.
The last time I upgraded my Mac, I had an issue because Parallels stopped working. Apparently, Parallels Desktop 7 worked for Lion (10.7), but not Mountain Lion (10.8). That was a frustration that I wanted to avoid. When Mavericks (10.9) comes out, I can upgrade my laptop without worrying that all of my Parallels Operating Systems will shut down. I use the windows side for some of the work that I do and that was frustrating to realize that I couldn't access Windows until I upgraded Parallels. In their defense, they notated this on their website and had sent emails that I must have missed. I was pleased that the issue was documented and easy to see if I searched.
Parallels has replaced Parallels Mobile with Parallels Access as of this version. First off, what are these things, you might ask. These are Apps that you run on your iPhone/iPad which allows you to takeover your remote machine. I can sit at the coffee shop and remember I needed to hit send on an email. I grab my phone, open the Parallels Mobile app, and it connects to my laptop at home, shows me the desktop, and lets me do what I need to do. You don't have to setup your router or anything. Just have Parallels running and you're good to go.
* The downside, Parallels Mobile worked for iPhone and iPad. This meant that if I just had my phone, I was still good. Parallels Mobile was introduced around version 7 and now it's being phased out. It's being phased out in favor of Parallels Access, which does the same thing, but costs $79.99/yr and doesn't currently work on the iPhone. When you connect with Parallels Access, the computer you takeover gets all funky as Parallels us tweaking the desktop resolution so that it can show you one Mac/Windows application at a time.
* The upside, Parallels Access is pretty sweet. You can takeover just one Mac/Windows Application at a time. You don't have to re-size the application to perfectly fit in the screen. They have taken the iPad finger strokes and made them work when you are taking over a remote computer. It's pretty amazing and has allowed me to get more done faster.
Parallels Access might be worth $20/yr to me, but not $79.99. It's worth even less to me because I don't have a choice. Parallels Mobile is End of Purchase. http://www.parallels.com/support/desktop-virtualization/mobile/ This means that you can't get it anymore and those of us that have been with them for years can't use it if we want to upgrade. If the next Mac upgrade to Mavericks works the same, then once I upgrade my Mac, I will have to upgrade Parallels and lose access to Parallels Mobile. (This is what I was talking about on the first paragraph. Please phone, chat, Skype, and email support. Please push for Parallels Mobile to come back or Parallels Access to be reasonably priced.)
I love Parallels and they have always come out with something new and some reason that it's worth it to me to upgrade. This is the first time I wouldn't want to give 5 stars. I still love them and want to stick with them. If you are choosing between Parallels and Fusion, I'd still say to go with Parallels. We just need them to get a little less cocky and be more open with us the consumers.