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Apple Inc. (AAPL) MacBook Pro Out of Consumer Reports’ Doghouse

Initial testing by Consumer Reports confirms an Apple claim that a Safari bug is to blame for poor MacBook Pro battery life

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed out 2016 on a sour note. Among other issues like defective iPhone batteries and slumping sales, its latest laptop saw significant criticism when launched.

The rough ride for the premium AAPL laptop hit a low point when Consumer Reports refused to recommend it because of poor and unreliable MacBook Pro battery life during testing. Apple and Consumer Reports have both released statements indicating that PR nightmare may be coming to an end.

new Macbook Pro battery life
Source: Apple

Why CR Wouldn’t Recommend the New MacBook Pro

This episode began just before Christmas, when Consumer Reports released its test results for AAPL’s new MacBook Pro laptop. The organization said that all three models tested had shown inconsistent battery results, sometimes lasting under four hours before the battery died (Apple’s advertised battery life is 10 hours).

As a result, the new MacBook Pro failed to achieve a Consumer Reports “recommended” buy rating — the first time an Apple MacBook has failed to do so.

The negative press was bad news for AAPL. Consumer Reports is an influential organization and having MacBook Pro battery life spiked out as being problematic tarnished the reputation of the company’s flagship laptop.

Apple: Poor MacBook Pro Battery Life Caused by Obscure Safari Bug

Apple had always disputed Consumer Reports’ findings, saying they did not match its own data. Now AAPL says it’s found the reason behind the poor MacBook Pro battery life test results. The company says an obscure bug in a developer setting of its Safari web browser was at fault.

A statement from Apple was released to MacRumors:

“We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro.”

For its part, Consumer Reports also released a statement, outlining its test procedures.

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