VMware makes it easy to run PC apps on Macs

Virtualisation software firm VMware will launch its first product for Apple Macs next Tuesday: VMware Fusion for Mac . With it, Apple Mac users can simultaneously run Mac OS X, Windows and other PC-based applications on a single Mac computer. It has been in beta since December last year.

Running Windows and Mac OS X alongside each other is useful for applications such as certain personal finance programs, games, Windows-only USB devices and Internet Explorer-only websites on your Mac.

"VMware Fusion for Mac is the easiest way to run Windows alongside Mac OS X," Mark Stradling, vice president at EMEA at VMware, told Tech.co.uk at a London press demo of the new virtualisation platform on Wednesday.

This corresponds with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' previous claim that "a lot of people want to run Windows applications side by side with Mac OS X".

32- and 64-bit OS

The virtualisation platform works on both 32- and 64-bit operating systems. So Intel-based Mac users can take advantage of their hardware's potential, whatever its specifications may be. Some 60 operating systems are supported, and over 200 hardware platforms. VMware works with two processor cores at the same time, and you're also able to run USB2 devices that don't have Mac drivers on the virtual PC.

The Unity feature means that Windows applications will completely integrate into the Mac interface, adding an icon to the dock and running on their own on the desktop. Windows and Mac OS X applications will sit alongside each other on the desktop. You can drag, drop, copy and paste items from one window to the other.

You're also able to take a snapshot of a running application, 'freeze' it for storage and then revert back to the exact same place the next time you start Windows up. This also goes for when you want to migrate content from a PC to a Mac.

"It's a smarter way to install Windows [on a Mac]," Reza Malekzadeh, VMware director of product marketing, told us.

VMware Fusion for Mac is available now . If you order ahead of the official launch date on 6 August, you'll pay the $40 (£19.70) presales price rather than the normal $50 (£25) price tag. A boxed version will follow in late August. It'll be sold through Dixons , Amazon.co.uk and MacWarehouse , as well as Apple retail stores.