With the impending release of OS X Yosemite this fall, the virtual machine wars have heated up with the release of VMware Fusion 7 and Fusion Pro 7 today. On August 20th, Parallels announced the latest version of its virtual machine environment, Parallels Desktop 10; now VMware is making sure that its flagship VM application is ready for Yosemite.
The company announced over 50 new features in VMware Fusion 7, which is designed from the ground up for compatibility with OS X Yosemite. The app takes design cues from Yosemite, including the typeface, translucency, and more. Yosemite can be run as a guest system under VMware Fusion 7 on an OS X Mavericks machine, perfect for those who wish to test the new OS but not have to devote a Mac to the testing.
Designed for the latest Macs, VMware Fusion and Fusion Pro 7 have been optimized for not only the current Intel Haswell CPUs, but also any future Macs that might run Intel's Broadwell processors. Virtual machines can now have up to 16 virtual CPUs, 64GB of RAM, and up to 2GB of video RAM.
As you'd expect with an update, performance has been enhanced significantly. Multimedia apps are doing about 11.5 percent better in performance benchmarks, while more CPU-intensive apps are seeing performance enhancements of up to 45 percent over VMware Fusion 6. MacBook-toting Apple fans will love that the energy impact of VMware 7 is down 42.16 percent as measured by the OS X Activity Monitor app.
VMware also took Retina displays into account while updating VMware Fusion. The virtual machine environment now handles Retina displays better, especially in Unity mode. For anyone who is new to virtual machines and VMware in particular, the company has added an enhanced Learning Center providing built-in support and videos.
Fusion Pro has been extremely popular with power users and enterprise administrators. Since professional use of Macs is exploding in the enterprise market, Fusion Pro is seeing a lot of growth. The app now supports over 200 separate operating systems, from Mac OS X to many versions of Windows, and countless Linux distros.
VMware Fusion Pro 7 can now take advantage of dual GPUs on MacBook Pros, with a selection of either the integrated GPU or a discrete GPU. And there's a surprise in this version -- your virtual machines can now access the iSight camera in your Mac for use in applications like Skype. The new version also allows a connection to vSphere, so virtual machines that are running on other more powerful computers in an enterprise environment can be accessed from rather low-end Macs such as the MacBook Air.
If you purchased VMWare Fusion or Fusion Pro between August 1 and September 30, 2014, you'll be able to get a free downloadable upgrade. The cost of upgrading from VMware Fusion 5 or 6 to version 7 is just US$49.99, while the upgrade from VMware Fusion Pro 5 or 6 to version 7 is $79.99. If at any time you decide that you need the extra features of Fusion 7 Pro, you can upgrade from Fusion 7 for $79.99. Of course, all of your Macs -- desktops and laptops -- can run on just one license.