Parallels launched an iPad app earlier this week, called Parallels Access, which gives users the ability to control their Windows PC or Mac from their iPad. The app doesn’t just give you a remote look of your computer’s desktop, however, it claims to enhance desktop programs to work better with the smaller, touch-enabled screen of the iPad.
This can essentially turn the iPad into a productivity tool by being able to run Microsoft Office and other Windows-only programs that users couldn’t otherwise get on an iPad or Mac. Microsoft has been marketing its Surface line as the ultimate productivity tablet (something that it’s trying to advertise as an advantage over the iPad), but with Parallels Access, iPad users can now get Microsoft Surface functionality by loading up Microsoft Office on their iPad.
However, Parallels Access costs a pretty penny; you’ll be ponying up $80 per year for the privilege of using the app. That’s the same cost as Parallels Desktop, which only has a one-time fee of $80 instead of yearly one. This proves that the company wants its users to pay a premium in order to use its software while on the go. Of course, one big caveat is that the app relies on your main computer, so you have to leave it on and running in order to take advantage of Parallels Access.
Then again, the entry-level price of $800 for the Surface Pro isn’t cheap, and with iPads going for as less as $300 for a refurbished iPad mini, Apple’s tablet could prove to be the go-to productivity alternative to the Microsoft Surface. Considering a refurbished iPad mini goes for $300 and Parallels Access will cost $80 a year, it’ll take a little over six years before the total cost would equal a Surface Pro tablet. By then, we would hope something better comes along that could even replace both the iPad and the Surface, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.