|At this year's MacWorld Expo, Intuit demonstrated a beta version of Quicken 2000. Slated to be released in September, this version shows some promising new features and much tighter integration with the Internet.
The first noticeable new feature is an updated interface. Gone are the multiple floating bars and icons, and everything you need is consolidated into one bar at the top of the screen. In addition to everything available in Quicken 98's bars, Quicken 2000 adds tabs at the top of the screen. The tabs give you access to commonly used features like reports, graphs, and Internet access. It's also possible to create your own tabs at the top that link to sections and features of your choice.
Quicken 2000 also offers an "Insights" screen that gives you summary information about your accounts and holdings. Included in the Insights are current net worth, top-level investment analysis, and links to web sites containing more information based on your financial picture.
The portfolio section has seen an update in terms of the data available to users from the Internet. Now it's possible to download 5 years of historical data for ANY stock out there, and it's all provided free of charge to the user. Once downloaded, this information is easily integrated into Quicken's stock analysis features for further probing.
Sadly, there's no way yet to download account data from online brokerage firms like E*Trade or Schwab. Although this feature has been available in Windows versions of Quicken, there are no plans to incorporate it into the Mac offering. This is definitely a major loss, especially as more and more people are managing their own investments.
The product seems remarkably stable, and very snappy. The projected release date of early September appears very possible given the current state of the software. All the new features and additional Internet integration make this upgrade an easy choice.
For a look at all of our MACWORLD Expo coverage, check out our MACWORLD Expo Special Report.
The Mac Observer Spin: With Intuit being one of the most popular consumer apps of all time, this release bodes well for the Mac market. Our overall impression was extremely favorable, though it is a disappointment not to see the ability to tie in to online brokerages. Despite this, many Mac users will find this to be a great application to help them manage their finances.