I’m reminded of Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day when he was behind the wheel of a pickup and cautioned the groundhog: “Don’t drive angry, don’t drive angry!” That was just before they drove off a cliff. Now I can hear Bill telling me, “Don’t write angry, don’t write angry!” The truth is I am angry. Why? Having learned that Quicken Online was engineered to work with the iPhone, and having received an iPhone for Christmas from Mrs. Dough, I was excited to check out Quicken on the iPhone. And I wanted to share the experience with you by taking screenshots of Quicken Online directly from my iPhone. So I spent 6 hours (yes, 6 hours) hacking my iPhone so that I can take screenshots with it. I then spent 30 minutes signing up for Quicken Online, giving it all of my most secret financial information, and then accessing it on my iPhone. The results? Let’s just say it’s not pretty.
Quicken Online from my iMac
Quicken Online from my iMac looked pretty sharp. Both Gina at Lifehacker and JD at Get Rich Slowly have put together very nice visual reviews of Quicken Online. You can check these reviews out. The nice desktop screen shots, including pie charts and graphs, set my expectations for what I would see through my iPhone. After all, the iPhone runs the Safari browser, so there’s no reason why the graphics shouldn’t measure up to a desktop.
The Quicken Online splash screen gave me false hope
When I first went to Quicken Online from my iPhone, the site looked great:
The graphics and layout of this sign-up screen look identical to what you’d find on a desktop. So I signed up, gave Quicken my user id and password for my checking account, and navigated to Quicken Online on my iPhone.
Quicken Online for the iPhone is functional but uninspired
When I got to Quicken Online for the iPhone, I thought something was wrong. I kept looking for all the spiffy graphics and charts. Nothing. It’s functional, to be sure, but nothing more. Here is a screen shot of My Accounts:
I literally spent 10 minutes hunting for buttons or links that would take me to all the great graphics Quicken Online offers on the desktop. The “Home” tab on the desktop version is no where to be found on the iPhone version, and neither is the “Track Spending” tab. Both of these features on the desktop version offer descent graphical representations of how you’re spending your money. It was a real disappointment not to find these same features on the iPhone version of Quicken Online. I could show you screenshots of the “My Bills” and “Add Transaction” tabs, but they are just as uninspired as the “My Accounts” tab.
Eventually, though, I did find a way to bring up some smart looking money management graphics and tools for iPhone users. From the Quicken Online screen, scroll up to the top of the page and enter the following URL: www.mint.com. What you’ll find is not perfect, but it’s light years better than Quicken Online, as the following iPhone screenshots demonstrate:
Maybe spending 6 hours to jailbreak my iPhone wasn’t a waste of time after all.