A new beta version of Parallels Desktop for Mac offers Boot Camp integration and the capacity to run Windows applications so they look like any other Mac application.

The $79 software — which lets Intel Macs run Windows XP concurrently with their Mac OS X system — introduces several new features, not least being a new 'Coherency' mode.

Coherency hides the Windows desktop and makes Windows applications float on your Mac desktop, just like any Mac OS X application.

The release also introduces the capacity to drag and drop files between operating systems, and the ability to boot from an existing Boot Camp partition, meaning users of both Parallels and Boot Camp no longer need to install Windows more than once on their Mac.

The software can also read and write data to and from a Boot Camp partition, transforming the Boot Camp disc into a virtual hard drive.

The ability to run Windows applications on the Mac OS X desktop inspired one developer to create their own software to launch Windows applications directly from the Mac OS X Dock.

Another excited user of the Windows-on-Mac solution has published a short movie that shows some of the new features in action. The video clearly show Windows applications seemingly working happily in the Mac OS X desktop.

The beta software also ushers in several other handy tweaks and features:

— Completely redesigned windows and dialogue boxes for improved usability

— Virtual Machines Catalogue. For users with more than one Virtual Machine, all of them are available through a centralised VM catalogue, which appears on each Parallels Desktop for Mac instance start-up. Clicking an alias automatically launches the Virtual machine.

— Resizable main window and auto-adjustable screen resolution; graphics performance improves up to 50 per cent.

— Better support for the connection/disconnection of USB devices;

A complete list of the new features in the powerful utility is available here.