The long awaited VMware Fusion 4 ships today. VMware promises the new version to not only be faster but have a variety of new features that support Mac OS X Lion.

It’s available now at for a promotional price of US$49.99 through the end of 2011 (normally $79.99).

“Enhancements to VMware Fusion 4 make it a breeze to run Windows and Mac Applications side by side on a Mac,” says Pat Lee, director, client product management, VMware. “Offering full integration into Apple OS X Lion, VMware Fusion 4 builds on our proven, award winning platform to provide an easy, fast and reliable way to run Windows applications on a Mac.”

VM Fusion 4 boasts more than 90 new features and is optimized for multi-core Macs. Using the latest version on Lion, you can choose which Windows programs to add to Launchpad, experience them in Mission Control, view them in full screen or switch between them using Mac gestures. And, you can limit spotlight to the Windows apps you choose as well.

VMware Fusion 4 has been engineered to run Windows and Mac applications side-by-side with incredible speed and reliability, says Lee. As a 64-bit Cocoa application, it is optimized for today’s multi-core Macs and delivers 3D graphics up to 2.5-times faster.

Lee says the new version offers an even more “Mac-like” experience thanks to a new settings menu to a redesigned virtual machine library and snapshot menu. VMware says the snapshots are managed in a way similar to backups in Apple’s Time Machine. The snapshot and autoprotect are designed for both novices and power users.

What’s more, VMware Fusion 4 supports Lion in a virtual machine, allowing users to get more from their Mac by running OS X Lion, OS X Lion Server, Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server and Mac OS X Leopard Server in virtual machines. Conversions from Windows machines is 20-40% faster according to VMware.

There’s a new DMG/disc design so you can drag and drop to install VMware Fusion to your folder of choice. You can double-click to upgrade from earlier versions of VMware Fusion. You can even drag and drop to the Trash if you’d like to remove the software; no uninstaller is needed. A USB key is included with the box product so VMware Fusion 4 can be installed on on Macs without optical drives (such as the MacBook Air).

Lee says VMware Fusion 4 has zero impact on Mac resources when VMware Fusion and Start Menu are not running. It’s a completely self contained Cocoa app and can be run from any folder you choose. Users can dynamically load and unload services on-demand and dynamically load and unload kernel modules on-demand.

There’s a new “iTunes inspired” Welcome to VMware Fusion to get you up and running quickly. With Fusion 4, you can show more virtual machines at once without needing to scroll. Start a virtual machine, and the virtual machine library goes away automatically.

VMware Fusion sports a new, smaller default toolbar. The ability to remove the status bar combined with the smaller toolbar purportedly gives you more 44% more work space — a huge win for those with smaller screens. Other new features include:

° The ability to add active device status and device settings to toolbar;

° The ability to quickly show and hide active device status and device settings;

° An optional “Send Ctrl-Alt-Delete” toolbar button;

° An optional “Pause” toolbar button;

° An overlay to make it clear which virtual machine settings you are changing;

° A new General overview category with insight on disk space used and a clean up option;

° The Applications Menu, Default Applications and Startup disk are broken out as separate categories;

° The Hard Disk category has been simplified;

° There’s a new compatibility category for virtual machine upgrade/downgrades;

° Improved 3D graphics performance (“up to 2.5X faster on Lion”according to VMware);

° New guest operating systems are supported, including Lion, Lion Server, CentOS 6.0, Debian 6.0, FreeBSD 8.2, Mandriva 2010, openSUSE 11.4, SUSE Linux 11 SP1, RHEL 6.0 and VMware ESX 5.

VMware Fusion 4 requires Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later, and 64-bit Intel processors (Core 2 Duo and newer). Those requiring Leopard support can continue to use VMware Fusion 3.1.

VMware Fusion’s migration assistant for Windows is “designed to make it easier for users to transfer their entire PC to a Mac.” VMware Fusion 4 is available until the end of the year for a promotional price of $49.99, compared to the suggested retail price of 79.99. Customers who have purchased VMware Fusion 3 on or after the July 20, 2011, are eligible for an electronic upgrade to VMware Fusion 4 at no additional cost. Volume pricing for corporate users is available from select resellers and .

VMware Fusion 4 — a 64-bit Cocoa app — is available immediately for download and purchase from the VMware web site. VMware Fusion box products will be available at key resellers including Apple,,, Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics and other stores in the coming days. VMware Fusion is available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Japanese. No virtualization products are not available from the Mac App Store.