You know how people sometimes joke about new products and say "Now with Less!" Well, it's no joke, apparently, if you're talking about Quicken for Mac.
As I've mentioned in many posts, I track my expenses religiously, using a combination of Quicken on my Mac, and Pocket Quicken on a series of Palm OS devices, currently a Treo. I got an email from Intuit recently touting their latest version of Quicken for Mac, and hoped it might offer some improvements, but when I looked into the details, I found it completely bizarre.
They're introducing an "all-new Quicken Essentials for Mac" sometime this month. They say it's improved and redesigned, but on the "using a prior version of Quicken Mac?" tab, they give these caveats:
We're very excited about the all-new Quicken Essentials for Mac. Not only does it solve the core Quicken jobs better, it also provides the ease of use and elegant user interface Mac customers have come to expect from their applications.Gee, what might those not-included features be?
Our Quicken Mac 2007 and earlier users should note that this is a brand new product, so some of the features you've grown used to may not be included.
1. Can I track my investments?
Yes, Quicken Essentials for Mac allows you to track the overall value of your investment accounts and the value of your specific holdings. It will not, however, track investment buys and sells, nor will it provide some advanced investment performance reports. If you need more more advanced investment features, try Quicken Mac 2007.2. Can I export my data to TurboTax?
Quicken Essentials for Mac does not support that capability. If you'd like that functionality, we recommend trying Quicken Mac 2007.3. Can I pay my bills within Quicken?
While you cannot pay bills within the product itself ("direct bill pay"), you can track your bills and make sure you have enough cash to pay them when they're due. A few alternatives available include using Quicken Mac 2007 or using the bill pay functionality on Quicken Bill Pay.
I happen to like tracking my buy and sell transactions and performance in investments accounts, though I don't use the TurboTax import or direct bill-pay. Maybe not everyone needs these features, but it seems very lame to introduce a new product-- for $60-- that takes so many steps backward. And I continue to be frustrated by their approach to mobile devices.
Palm OS seems to be fading away (though apparently you can run old Palm apps on the new Pre smartphone with a software add-on). My Treo is a few years old now and I'm worried it's going to die one of these days. I keep thinking it would be nice to have an iPhone, but one of the main things holding me back is that the Quicken iPhone app does not synchronize with any desktop versions of Quicken, only the stripped-down online version (which is now merged with Mint.com). Aren't paid-for, premium versions of software supposed to give you MORE features than free online versions?
I'm not sure what my financial record-keeping future will be. I have so much history in Quicken, I'd really like to stick with them, and I would happily pay for new versions of the software as they update it. But not being able to enter new transactions on the fly is a major deal-breaker for me. I'll be continuing to research new options for expense tracking-- for instance, Wesabe seems to offer the ability to enter cash transactions on the iPhone, but I haven't played around with it to see if it will meet my other needs. I'm sure I'll write more about it in a future post, but would welcome suggestions from readers in the meantime!