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Intuit To Rewrite Quicken, Demos TurboTax 2008

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors bot



    Financial software maker Intuit has been busy over the past year. Two of its major software titles for the Mac, Quicken and TurboTax, have seen or are in the process of being re-written from the ground up to make better use of modern technologies.

    Quicken Financial Life for Mac
    Quicken for Mac has long existed as a Carbon application due to its pre-existence on Mac OS 9. However, in recent years Quicken for Mac designers have increasingly felt that they were not bringing the product to its fullest potential, and with the transition to Intel a Carbon base with varying 3rd party libraries made a universal binary impossible without a ground-up re-write.

    Therefore, Quicken 2007 for Mac will be the last in the current line of Quicken for Mac products and a brand new Quicken for Mac product, currently called "Quicken Financial Life for Mac" is being written. This product will use a slew of Mac OS X technologies. Here's a quick preliminary technical specification rundown:

    - Cocoa based
    - CoreData for information storage
    - Universal Binary
    - Mac OS 10.5 Leopard Only
    - Coverflow, other Mac OS specific views

    Because the application is being built from the ground-up, it will only initially contain a subset of what is currently found in Quicken 2007 for Mac. While it will fully support cash-flow accounts (cash, checking, savings, credit cards), it will have extremely limited support for investments, though you will be able to track your balances and holdings and calculate your net worth. However, TurboTax and DirectConnect/WebConnect features are all to be expected in the 1.0 product.

    Pricing hasn't been ironed out yet, but the final version is expected to ship in fall of 2008. Quicken was good enough to supply us with these exclusive high-quality screenshots of the application, but note that the application is still in pre-alpha, so the screens are subject to change.

    Images in article

    TurboTax 2008 For Mac
    TurboTax has also seen a ground-up rebuild this year. While the changes may not be quite as drastic as Quicken, Intuit says that several highly requested Mac-specific features have been added to this year's product.

    Features shared by the Windows product include life change questions that are placed earlier in the preparation process, a help system tied into Intuit's user community, an improved audit risk meter, and a free audit support tool in the unlikely event you are audited.

    Mac-only features include:
    - A form view that is always accessible and flips into view. Users who are used to filling out paper forms can switch between the interview and the form at any time.
    - Save returns to iDisk
    - Archive return and TurboTax 2008 to CD
    - Create multiple returns (good for figuring out if you want to file jointly or separately)

    The TurboTax guys

    One More Thing...
    Unfortunately, while Intuit has made its strides this year, it has also had its setbacks. In the wake of a very public data loss issue involving QuickBooks 2006, I asked Intuit for an update on the incident and the product.

    Intuit was frank that they definitely had encountered a nightmare scenario, and that they took the incident very seriously. Unfortunately, the solution for 2006 users was to turn off automatic updates; however, a fix has been put in place for the 2007 product to ensure that such a scenario does not occur in the future.

    As for QuickBooks: users can expect an update this fall with new and improved features, but no it isn't a rewrite.

    Read Full Article
  2. macrumors P6


    Great news! I use Quicken and QuickTax (Canadian version of Turbo Tax) and find them to be excellent pieces of software. Looking forward to a major update for Mac.

    That reminds me, tax season is just around the corner... :eek: ;)
  3. Editor emeritus


    Its gonna suck for investors while the new product matures, but I'm glad that Quicken is getting brand new legs. I think its a good move.
  4. macrumors P6


    Yeah, fair enough, there will no doubt be multiple growing pains. Necessary though, and hopefully worth it in the end.
  5. macrumors P6


    good news! Quicken was the first financial program that i used on my first mac. looking forward to trying out this new program
  6. Moderator emeritus


    Those are about as far away from high-quality as you can get ;)

    I use TurboTax but have been using the Windows version because I'm afraid to touch their Mac software. Maybe I'll try their 2008 version...

    I think it's a sad state in Mac software when Cocoa, Core Data, and Universal Binary are listed as features, or "technologies used". First off, the user doesn't care what technologies were used to create the software. They just want it to be easy to use, have a familiar appearance, and have features that work. Second, universal binary shouldn't even be mentioned anymore, it should just be a given. Lastly, those screenshots look pitiful. For a large company like Quicken, I would never have released those screenshots.

    I just installed Office 08 and it is terrible. I guess I've lost all hope in big corporation's ability to produce quality Mac software, even when rewrites are involved.
  7. macrumors demi-god


    It's hard to imagine that Intuit could be working on software that looks like it will end up being worse than the existing Quicken for Mac embarrassment. But looking at those screenshots is damned depressing. I sure wish someone would come along and offer something that's truly competitive with Quicken for Windows or Microsoft Money.

    Financial management apps for Mac is a grim, bleak landscape of suck. At least now that Apple have switched to Intel it's less painful to run Windows in VMware or Parallels in order to run a truly useful money manager.
  8. Editor emeritus


    It's not a picture of a screen, is it? It's an actual screenshot. I'd say "higher", but then I'd have to say who it was higher than ;)
  9. macrumors newbie

    It'll be interesting to see how it shapes up. I'm very curious to see if they'll opt for a multi-sku release that seems to be all the rage these days on their pc lines.

    At the very least, I hope they'll accommodate a "basic" version, at least price wise. As someone who did support for quickbooks for quite some time, I'm very well of exactly how much of Intuit's software I *don't* need. And when I finally switched last year, i balked at spending 70 dollars for the current mac edition knowing full well I wasn't going to use half of it.

    I've been making do with custom spreadsheets, but I know I'd really just like something along the lines of the old '01 or '02 quicken for PC, before the bloat really started to set in.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Don't be scared of TurboTax for Mac.

    My wife and I have been using it for about the last 5 years without any problems what so ever.

    I didn't like last year's program but that wasn't a Mac thing.... just a TurboTax thing. It seemed like they went too detailed compared to previous versions.
  11. Editor emeritus


    Can you guys specifically state what you don't like about the screens? Personally, I love the interface. I'm a big fan of where they're going with the tag view, and having an application abide by Apple's interface standards and using its Cocoa UI technology is a good thing, not bad, in my opinion anyways.
  12. macrumors 68020


    It's always nice to see OS X getting very large application development support. :cool:
  13. macrumors 65816

    I'd really look forward to an updated QuickBooks for Mac.
  14. macrumors regular

    Quicken 2008

    What I'd really like to see happen is for it to be able to update my Quicken 2005 so I did not have to buy the 2007 first. That would just make my day! Of course I will admit to being easily amused. :)

  15. macrumors 68030


    I used Quicken on the PC, and had to dump the product when I moved back to Mac. It couldn't transfer its data from the PC version to the Mac version properly, and lost a bunch of transactions making it useless to me. Fortunately iBank 2 was able to read my Quicken data accurately & I've never looked back. I'll never trust Quicken to my data again.
  16. macrumors demi-god


    I have about three hundred complaints about how terrible Quicken for Mac is. "It's not shiny enough" didn't make the list. The screenshots look lickable, sure, but they also look like a really horrible financial management application -- about ten steps in the wrong direction. Coverflow? Seriously? That's their big plan? I'm not going to overlook all the app's deficiencies just because it's nice to look at.

    I want an app that's functional at the level that Quicken for Windows or Microsoft Money is. I could not care in the least that it uses all the fancy CoreVideo eye candy available in OS X. The silly web 2.0-looking tag cloud is just embarrassing. How is that supposed to be useful? It's just trendy with apparently no thought put towards the more important issues of features and usability.
  17. Moderator emeritus


    They look like prototype screenshots to be honest. Something the engineers would develop and give to QA for review, not something to show to potential customers. They UI approach they are using just doesn't fit for financial data.

    I just feel that Mac developers are placing too much emphasis on UI and not enough on usability and features, and it looks like Quicken is going down this path too.

    Edit: Nugget mentioned everything I wanted to, but didn't. I agree with him 110%.
  18. macrumors 65816

    I love the nice, clean look. Why would accounting software have flashy graphics?

    What I'm concerned about is that this article states that Quicken 2008 will initially only offer a subset of features. I say finish the software properly and release it as 2009 software.
  19. macrumors regular

    Probably just to get the foundation out there. Cocoa makes it easier to develop new applications much much faster although it's going to be fairly basic, so in this case they get it out there and then start re-adding features for the 2009 version, if you don't like that though I guess you can stick with the 2007 version.

  20. Editor emeritus


    1) The software is not going to be called Quicken 2008. The current Quicken line is dead.
    2) taking an extra year to "finish" the software will miss out on important revenue for them to continue their development. And to be honest, if you really need the investment features that won't be present at first, then by all means, don't buy the 1.0 product. However, I for one, will be buying it.

    In cordial disagreement with some of the others, I think that the new UI improvements are actually really good and important improvements to these financial applications. The cloud view might be a "trendy" and web 2.0 thing to do, but I could immediately see the use for it, and when you look at it, you can immediately see what you're spending most on. It's a nice and modern way to view your financial data.
  21. macrumors demi-god


    OK, here's some more tangible complaints.

    • Quick -- Looking at the screens available, tell me how much money in total this person owes on their credit cards? In Quicken for Windows account balances are conveniently located in the account bar, with subtotals and totals by account type. In this new version they've eliminated this very useful display in the interests of maintaining the new, clean UI style. Significant loss of function.
    • A selection box to choose a memorized Payee? Seriously? After a few years of Quicken usage you've probably got several thousand payees that are available for autocomplete. The only sane way to handle that it simple typing autocomplete. Maybe if you're being fancy an autocompleting drop-down, but hardly anyone will actually ever click on it. You just type until you've got enough to make the match and tab to the next field. The translucent box with the vertical scrollbar was obviously chosen because they wanted to use a translucent box with a vertical scrollbar -- not because anyone thought it would be the most effective input method.
    • Transaction tags but not categories? Not bad for Flickr, but horrible for Quicken. I'm assuming this means that you can no longer create a hierarchy of transaction types making reporting less useful. Quick, run a report of all taxes paid. Is it easy now that they're just atomic tags and not subcategories of "Taxes"? Any sort of hierarchy similarity is going to yield confusing overloaded tags to fake out the multiple levels. Consider, for example, the Income:* and Income, Spouse:* groupings in "real" Quicken.
    • Tag cloud: heck, even in the screen shot we can see some jarring problems. There's tags for "acura" and for "auto." What's that supposed to mean? Is a transaction that's double-tagged showing up for both categories? Wouldn't that sort of ruin the (questionable) purpose of the tag cloud?
    • Split transactions - no longer supported? It would seem so. The whole notion of a split transaction would be fundamentally incompatible with tagging.

    The bottom line is this: the screenshots would seem to demonstrate an application that is being designed backwards. One gets the sense that the designers sat around a table and made a list of all the cool UI elements they'd ever seen and then, after making that list, tried to find places to use those cool UI elements in the app that they wanted to build. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
  22. macrumors 6502a


    I can calculate my net worth. Thanks:)
  23. macrumors regular

    None of this really matters. Applications are moving to the web, and in the case of financial applications, the benefits are obvious. A web-based personal financial dashboard can, in principle, track all your checking, savings, money market, investment and retirement accounts automatically by communicating directly with the institutions. Same with your lines of credit, car and home loans, and even the assets tied to those loans (just ask blue book and zillow repeatedly for rough estimates).

    We have proven willing to execute transactions online, to do our banking online at the websites of individual banks, to store gigabytes of email history going back years in the cloud, which besides containing loads of personal information, also would likely help a snooper to log into many of our other accounts online through the "here's your new password" messages they send us.

    Who wants to bother with syncing your pc to keep all this information current, when you could just have it all in the cloud and get to it from any pc and many smartphones?

    Some sites, like mint.com, are already headed down this path.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Forget about Quicken.

    They are showing iBank 3 beta at Macworld and it will do Web Connect, Direct Downloads and your investments.
    The guy also showed me an iPhone web app that syncs with .Mac to input transaction on the iPhone.

    I was impressed and am looking forward to it.

  25. Editor emeritus


    1) the images are of pre-alpha software that isn't due until this fall. you may want to submit your first comment to Intuit and see what they say.
    2) the payee field DOES auto-complete. This is MORE functionality than what you are describing, in that it is allowing the user to either enter text OR use their mouse as they are typing to select a payee
    3) like i said, pre-alpha. The tagging feature seemed like they were just showing off the beginnings of what they were doing. I'm personally all for new ways to view how I'm spending my money.
    4) acura vs. auto... come on dude... that's just what the demo data had in it!
    5) even in split transactions, you enter categories. The tagging feature would be 100% compatible with split transactions.

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