After a four year absence, the next version of Quicken for the Mac is here. It's called Quicken Essentials for Mac and is a ground up Cocoa rewrite. I've been using the program for a few weeks now. Is it worth the wait? Well that depends what you need in your financial software.
When I interviewed Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit's Personal Finance Group, he was quick to point out that it's called Quicken Essentials for a reason: "It's called Essentials because it's what we consider to be essential for most users - about 80% of users. We went to people's homes and watched them use it. The majority of them just want to know: How much do I have? How much do I owe? How much do I spend on gas and food? How many times do I go to this restaurant? How many times do I go to Starbucks? What investments do I have? Let me set a budget to control my spending."
If an easy overview of your financial life is the goal Intuit had in mind, they've outdone themselves. The first thing you'll notice is the completely redesigned interface. Gone is the horrible toolbar navigation with multiple windows. Quicken Essentials has got that familiar streamlined iTunes/iLife look and feel with all your accounts, reports, budgets, and tools nicely displayed in a source list. Its single window interface makes it easy for the user to get a complete snapshot of all their finances. The interactive pie charts are snappy and responsive, and the built-in reports make it easy to view your checking, savings, and investing accounts.