What's that whooshing sound? It's the collective sigh of relief from all of the Mac-lovers who've been wrangled into providing unofficial tech support for friends and family switching to Mac. Parallels today announced their latest offering, Parallels Desktop "Switch to Mac" Edition. It's a three-part tool that makes the switch from XP or Vista to OS X so easy that it hurts to think about the last time you tried to show a recent convert where their Start menu went.
The first tool Parallels is offering is a set of interactive tutorials which cater to any learning style. "Watch Saied" is a collection of over 2 hours of video walkthroughs, narrated by Saied Ghaffari of Parallels (also the man behind the It's Time To Learn products we've posted about before). The tutorials are viewable in a non-linear fashion to allow the user to learn what they need -- or want -- to know at any given point in their transition.
These are accompanied by a full simulation of the OS X environment, with tools which allow you to click anything on the screen to find out what it is, what it does, and/or how it works. The "YouTry" feature is perfect for tactile learners (those who "learn by doing"), allowing you to put lessons into practice within the simulation -- without the possibility of "breaking" anything in your working environment. Once you complete a lesson, it's starred and you can move on... following a lesson plan, or skipping to whatever is intriguing or vital at the moment.
The second tool is a new version of Parallels' Transporter tool, appropriately dubbed the "Enhanced Parallels Transporter." The bundle comes with a high-speed USB cable, and the Transporter automates the transition of PC data to a Mac, including your bookmarks, your photos, your documents, even your applications. The process is simple, but it's documented and simulated in the tutorials, so you really can't go wrong. Mom won't even have to call you to figure out where to plug in the cable.
Lastly, the bundle includes a full version of Parallels Desktop for Mac, an excellent means of running Windows applications on your Mac. Many users find comfort in being able to run their old applications while they make the switch, and in some cases you have to run Windows to maintain some vital applications with no Mac counterpart. The whole setup is, of course, also included in the tutorials; an ibuprofen for the headaches of running Windows on a Mac.
This is exciting news for switchers, but especially exciting for me as the family go-to guy for Mac questions. My wife's parents just bought their first Mac, and we'll be putting "Switch to Mac" through its paces. If things go as planned, I'll be gleefully sitting back and letting them report in, gushing about how great their new Mac is, instead of frantically calling to find out what happened to their vacation photos. I'm looking forward to doing a follow-up post and letting you know how it goes.
Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition will be available as a retail box edition in the Apple Store, and available for purchase online (as a boxed bundle), with a suggested retail price of $99.99US.