Parallels Brings Windows 10’s Cortana Digital Assistant To Mac OS X

Siri isn’t yet on Mac OS X, but Cortana is, thanks to PC virtualization software Parallels Desktop 11. Launched today, the new version of the software is expected to be as much as 50 percent faster than previous iterations and features Cortana, Microsoft’s digital, personal assistant.

Parallels Desktop lets users run Windows (Windows 10, in this case) apps on their Macs. It’s a handy tool for anyone and must-have for many business users who need the flexibility of being to use either OS.

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Although Cortana is a Windows 10 feature, Parallels says that customers can use Cortana with Mac applications, even when Windows 10 is not the priority app. The new feature may put pressure on Apple to get Siri, its own personal assistant, onto Mac OS X. Although it’s Parallels, and not Microsoft, that managed to get Cortana on to Mac computers, Microsoft has been working to get Cortana onto Android and iOS mobile devices this year.

Of course, Cortana support is one in a laundry list of new features. Others include a travel mode that preserves battery life and support for mac location services in Windows applications. It also includes Quick Look for Windows documents.

This time around, Parallels renamed Enterprise Edition to Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition and priced it at $99.99 per year, although you can upgrade from a previous version for $49.99 as an introductory upgrade rate. The mainstream version of the software is Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac, which goes for $79.99 or a $49.99 upgrade. Cortana is available on both editions of the software.

Another feature worth mentioning is that Business Edition users get a free subscription to Parallels Access for remotely accessing their Macs.