In a year that’s been largely lackluster for Apple and downright bizarre for battery technologies, Consumer Reports’ refusal to recommend the new MacBook Pro feels like a too-perfect microcosm of the past 12 months.
In the wake of online complaints surrounding the recently refreshed laptop line’s longevity, the review stalwart handed the 15-inch version of the laptop 56/100 and its 13-inch counterparts 47 and 40 for the standard and Touch Bar versions, respectively.
“Yes, it’s the battery life,” the site wrote in the subhead of the post announcing scores, chalking the refusal to recommend the laptops up to an inconsistency across results. From CR:
For instance, in a series of three consecutive tests, the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar ran for 16 hours in the first trial, 12.75 hours in the second, and just 3.75 hours in the third. The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar worked for 19.5 hours in one trial but only 4.5 hours in the next. And the numbers for the 15-inch laptop ranged from 18.5 down to 8 hours.
The site also noted that “Apple declined to comment on our test results until they better understand the issue.” SVP Phil Schiller took to social media for a late Friday tweet to address concerns, noting that the company’s own internal testing doesn’t square with Consumer Reports’ rating.
“Working with CR to understand their battery tests,” Schiller wrote. “Results do not match our extensive lab tests or field data.” Apple’s own testing rates the high-end laptops’ battery at “up to 10 hours.”
The publication was quick to note that such battery issues are sometimes fixable via software update and as such would be more than happy to conduct fresh testing if/when Apple issues a fix.
While the tests mark the end of a perfect string of Consumer Reports recommendations for the notebook line, this isn’t the first time the organization has raised Apple’s ire. Notably, a 2010 investigation into iPhone 4 antenna problems resulted in an emergency press conference and a whole bunch of free cases for phone buyers.