The iPad with Retina Display sells for $499 for a 16GB version, and costs even more if you want greater storage space. It’s notthat expensive, but considering how limited the iPad is productivity wise, it might not be the most sensible investment for some. Face facts, the iPad just isn’t as handy as your computer – it’s a much more app-centric device, meaning everything looks good as long as it’s an app.
But would you be interested in investing $80 to turn your iPad into something more useful for office work?
Parallels believes that there are plenty who’ll say yes. The company offers virtualization and automation solutions for desktops, servers, hosting, SaaS and more. It’s most well known software allows Mac users to seamlessly run Microsoft’s Windows OS, allowing them to run all of their legacy apps on Apple computers hassle free.
Access “applifies” Mac and Windows applications, allowing users to remotely access and experience them as if they were native apps for the iPad.
The Parallels Access Experience
To get started, you’ll need to download a client for your Mac or PC. Then, all you need to do is download the Access app on your iPad and you’re good to go.
Desktop apps are presented in a customizable launcher menu which fits perfectly on your iPad’s screen, making everything look like native iPad apps.
Multitasking is not the iPad’s strongest suit, but with Access, switching from one app to another is as simple as doing it on your desktop. No need to close anything, just click on an icon to help you choose which apps or documents you want to open without closing the other.
The familiar drag, drop and go that is implemented in iOS devices has also integrated with the Mac and PC apps, which means you don’t have to learn any new actions when using Access. It thrives off of your iPad-using skills so everything feels natural.
With Access, you aren’t limited to copy-pasting in just the Mac or PC apps. Anything you copy on the Mac and PC apps can be pasted anywhere you please, like in the Notes apps of your iPad.
The native controls – such as tap, pinch, swipe, and scroll are all available for you to use on the Access apps, but since the iPad has a smaller screen and sometimes tapping is not accurate, Parallels has come up with the ‘SmartTap’ feature that allows you select the right content even if you’re off by a few millimeters. In addition, the iPad’s magnifying glass is available to use with both Mac and PC apps, allowing users to see text better without having to zoom in and lose their place in the page when they zoom out.
The best part about Access is that it makes the Mac and Windows keyboards – complete with all the Function and Windows keys – available for users. So essentially, Access is turning your iPad into a Mac or PC, making it suitable for work or school use and not just a big flat tablet for playing games and watching videos.
The price isn’t right?
Parallels Access has a lot of promise and will certainly tempt some mobile workers, but paying $79.99 a year, for every iPad you use, is a fairly steep price to pay after purchasing a $500 iPad. The features are quite impressive and if your company practices BYOD and will pay for the subscription fee, then good for you. But if not, you might want to try the 14-day free trial first before you commit to a one-year subscription, especially if you’re not planning to use your iPad as a desktop all that much.