The Red Box has arrived.

Parallels has released an amazing update to their virtual machine software ‘Parallels Workstation for Mac’.

To me, the single most notable new feature is called ‘Coherency’, which causes Windows applications to run right alongside Macintosh programs in windowed mode. No more dedicated desktop window for the Windows OS. This mirrors the functionality of Classic, a technology Apple employed to enable MacOS X to run legacy applications right alongside their OS X apps. The codename for this technology was called “Blue Box”.

As related in a previous blog entry, another rumored technology would be called “Red Box”, a technology which would enable Mac users to run Windows applications alongside their Mac ones. Apple has, to date, not released this technology but I speculated on a means of creating it which would be eminently doable, and have about the same footprint as Blue Box did when running OS 9 apps.

Classic

Classic applications running alongside MacOS X. Click for larger.

Parallels has actually delivered on this.

Coherency

Windows applications running alongside MacOS X. Click for larger.

Now, a new Mac user who depends on Windows applications need not worry themselves about what a virtual desktop is, or a virtual machine. If properly set up, this technology should be able to allow people to simply and easily run their legacy applications under MacOS X until they can find replacements.

Truly impessive.