M1 chips have changed the landscape of the Apple computing world, and the latest generation of Macs are now powered by the Cupertino-based firm’s own ARM-based chips—ideally offering better optimisation, and even battery life. However, one thing has been missing from the M1 machines, a functionality that has been very popular among tinkerers on macOS for a long time: Boot Camp. This basically allowed users to install Windows versions on their Macs—without affecting the existing macOS directory.
Now, however, the folks over at Corel have announced an update to Parallels Desktop that adds the ability for M1-powered Macs to run Windows 10 on ARM apps—as well as most popular ARM-based Linux distributions. In an official statement on the company blog, Parallels explained that users will also benefit from a number of performance improvements on the latest Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac, including:
- Up to 250 percent less energy used
- Up to 60 percent DirectX 11 performance
- Up to 30 percent better virtual machine performance on Windows
There is a catch, however. You can only use the preview version of Windows 10 for ARM processors, and currently, the only official versions are limited to Windows machine manufacturers.
According to Parallels:
“We received enthusiastic feedback about the remarkable performance of both the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac and Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview as well as x86 applications and games, including Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sam & Max Save the World and many others. Testers loved Parallels Desktop’s easy-to-use features and seamless integration of Windows with macOS Big Sur, which increases productivity.”
Meanwhile, Linux distributives including Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linus 2021.1, Debian 10.7, and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2 are supported as well.
So, what do you think? I’ve yet to try this out (I don’t use a Mac), but from where I’m seated, it’s a move that makes a lot of sense. Many apps don’t make it across the great Windows-macOS divide, so if you need something like, Irfanview, for example, or other open-source, niche apps, you might prefer to hope over to a Windows emulator on the same machine instead.