Turbo Boost Your Productivity on the Move with @ParallelsAccess

Do you have an iPad but frus­trated that it doesn’t give the same power and flex­i­bil­ity as your desk­top Mac or PC?

Would you like to access your home or busi­ness com­puter on the move directly from your iPad?

Work­ing on the Move

Do you find your­self work­ing on the move or work­ing from a dif­fer­ent loca­tion on a reg­u­lar basis? This is def­i­nitely the case for me and that was one of the rea­sons why I went for a 17″ desk­top replace­ment lap­top– enabling me to work effi­ciently wher­ever I go. I am able to work effec­tively on the move, par­tic­u­larly when I cou­pled with a mobile wire­less hotspot device like the MiFi from Three. I have all my appli­ca­tions and files avail­able to me, and they’re all backed up to the Cloud and syn­cro­nised to my desk­top com­puter with Spi­derOak. I also use Drop­box for smaller files.

The big down­side to this approach is that my lap­top is a beast– and you need to be strong (or com­pletely mad) to carry it around. It might be due to my Celtic build and Scot­tish ances­try but I am fairly com­fort­able with this, but there are times when I wish I had an alter­na­tive! This would be where I can run all the soft­ware I need (Pho­to­shop, Sub­lime­Text and Mozilla Thun­der­bird for exam­ple) and access all my files on the move.


Ultra­book anyone?

I’ve con­sid­ered pur­chas­ing a slim ultra­book PC like the Sam­sung ATIV Book Lite which would give me more porta­bil­ity. If you are a Apple fan then you could buy a Mac Book Air. The big advan­tage with these is that they are full com­put­ers with oper­at­ing sys­tems and the capa­bil­ity of run­ning full scale soft­ware such as Office, email clients, Pho­to­shop and more.

The prob­lem of course is that they’re expen­sive– the Sam­sung is around $730/£470 and the Mac­book Air around $1,000/£850. You’re not going to get a lot of hard disk space with them either– 128Gb with the Sam­sung and up to 256Gb with the Mac­book Air (for addi­tional cost).

I should also men­tion Microsoft’s new Sur­face Pro 2 tablet which does allow you run full Win­dows 8 appli­ca­tions, but again it’s not cheap around the same cost as a Mac­Book Air.


How about an iPad?

iPad Air

We might be liv­ing in a world wide reces­sion, but it still seems that every­one has an iPad. Apple have pro­duced an amaz­ing piece of engi­neer­ing, par­tic­u­larly with the new iPad Air. It is lighter and more portable than before and more pow­er­ful. Even my 3rd gen­er­a­tion iPad is amaz­ingly portable (except when it tips over when the kids are watch­ing Net­flix on it). The selec­tion of apps in Apple’s App­Store is amaz­ing– most of them of very high quality.

But.…

The iPad is NOT a computer!

iPad Air with KeyboardThere, I said it! I know I am stat­ing the obvi­ous, but I have seen so many occa­sions when peo­ple are try­ing to use their iPad as a com­puter. For example:

  • You can’t run full desk­top appli­ca­tions like Microsoft Word, Pho­to­shop or cod­ing apps.
  • There isn’t a proper file sys­tem to share, open and save files from apps
  • You can’t open all file types (video and audio file for­mats are limited)

When I went on hol­i­day to Majorca a few years back I did just about man­age to cope with my iPad (together with a blue­tooth key­board) but I was only able to do very light work on it. It was quite frus­trat­ing. The thing is, the iPad isn’t sup­posed to be a com­puter replace­ment and Apple don’t claim that it is. It’s a 3rd device that sits nicely between your com­puter and your mobile phone.


So What Now? Ah, How about Par­al­lels Access?

iPad running Windows with Parallels AccessParallels Access LogoWhat if you could turn your iPad into a com­puter? It sounds mad, but you can. There is great app that I have dis­cov­ered that turns my iPad into a desk­top PC or Mac called Par­al­lels Access. If you have a desk­top or lap­top PC or Mac, you can con­nect to it on your iPad using the Par­al­lels Access app.

You may have used a “remote desk­top” app like the one that comes with Win­dows or an app like TeamViewer. This allows you to take con­trol of a com­puter and view the screen remotely– some­thing I have found very use­ful. How­ever, Par­al­lels Access goes fur­ther than this. It is dif­fer­ent in that Par­al­lels Access allows you to run soft­ware from your desk­top or lap­top on your iPad– almost as if they were native iPad apps. It really is a fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ence and it almost fools you in think­ing that your iPad is a full computer.

It doesn’t mat­ter if you run a lap­top or desk­top com­puter with Win­dows or a Mac run­ning Mac OSX– you can run these apps right from your iPad. You can tog­gle between apps and use hand ges­tures to con­trol them right from your iPad. You can also view the desk­top from your tablet as if you were set­ting in front of your home computer.

Have a look at these screen­shots to get an idea:

  • Parallels Access screenshot
  • parallels access options
  • parallels access keyboard

Touch­ify your Apps!

Since desk­top soft­ware usu­ally isn’t opti­mised for touch, it’s often quite clunky to use by hand. How­ever Par­al­lels Access man­ages to turn your touch ges­tures into the right sig­nals for the appli­ca­tion you’re run­ning. For exam­ple select­ing, copy­ing and past­ing, scrolling and zoom­ing. You can even copy from the app run­ning on your home com­puter to an iPad app– for exam­ple copy­ing to your cal­en­dar or notes app. I think this is where Par­al­lels Access excels over sim­i­lar apps

It’s not going to be quite the same as run­ning the soft­ware on a lap­top, but if you are on the move and need porta­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity then this is a must. We’re hop­ing to go on hol­i­day abroad next year but I don’t want to have to bring my lap­top. Being able to access my full Win­dows appli­ca­tions run­ning on my home PC on our iPad will be really useful.

It opens up so many pos­si­bil­i­ties. For exam­ple, you could…

  • Access files remotely on your home computer
  • Manip­u­late an image using Photoshop
  • Edit code using your favourite desk­top code editor
  • Use your desk­top email client (if you’re not a web­mail kinda person)
  • Use proper Microsoft Out­look pro­grammes like Word, Excel and Powerpoint
  • Access full apps in the class­room at a school or on the shop floot
  • Make desk­top apps more acces­si­ble to peo­ple with cer­tain dis­abil­i­ties using touch and voice

It Ain’t Cheap, but Will help you to be Super Productive

If you read some reviews of Par­al­lels Access they make a big deal of the price. With an annual subscription of just short of $80 or £55 per year you can under­stand. We’re so used to apps cost­ing $1 or $2 or even free. The annual sub­scrip­tion for Par­al­lels Access isn’t cheap– but I’m not so sure $6.67 per month is a huge price to pay for a big increase in your pro­duc­tiv­ity on the move. Com­pare that with the Adobe Cre­ative Cloud Sub­scrip­tion of $49.99 per month and I think you have a bar­gain! How­ever if you’d like to have it for free, read on…


Free One-Year Sub­scrip­tions to Par­al­lels Access Give­away! (FIVE AVAILABLE)

GiveawayI am really pleased to be able to offer read­ers of my blog the chance to win a free one-year sub­scrip­tion to Par­al­lels Access.

At this stage I wanted to say that my views in this arti­cle are totally my own (as always) and I wrote it because I was impressed by Par­al­lels Access and felt that my read­ers would like it too. I haven’t been paid to write it.

The caveats out of the way, you’ll be won­der­ing how you can win?

Par­tic­i­pants can enter by retweet­ing at least one of the fol­low­ing give­away tweets below. Five win­ners cho­sen at ran­dom will win a free one-year sub­scrip­tion to Par­al­lels Access. The dura­tion of the con­test is 1 week (up until 11:59pm on Novem­ber 20, 2013. I will notify the win­ners by tweet– keep an eye out for a mention!

Check out my review of @ParallelsAccess. Plus, RT this and you could win a free one-year subscription. #applifyhttp://t.co/qHm6uAKryC

— Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) November 13, 2013

New iPad app @ParallelsAccess is great for productivity!
RT this to win a free one-year subscription. #applifyhttp://t.co/qHm6uAKryC

— Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) November 13, 2013

I tried and loved @ParallelsAccess– AND have some free promo codes to giveaway! RT for your chance to win. #applifyhttp://t.co/qHm6uAKryC

— Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) November 13, 2013

Awesome new iPad app @ParallelsAccess is a gamechanger for work-on-the-go. RT to win free 1yr subscription #applify
http://t.co/qHm6uAKryC

— Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) November 13, 2013


What do you think?

So, what do you think? Are you impressed? Would you use it? Are you under­whelmed? Do you think it is too pricey? As always, let me know in the com­ments below!

About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian Anderson Gray is a web developer, social media consultant, trainer, and partner at internet solutions company Select Performers. Ian authors the blog entitled iag.me about social media topics.