After an initial flub in December, Apple got the coveted recommended rating from Consumer Reports it had been seeking for its latest Macbook Pro. Apple got a surprise non-recommended rating from the independent consumer watchdog at the start of the holiday season when initial tests on the Macbook Pro brought up wildly erratic battery life results.
Following that shake-up, Apple uncovered the bug behind the inconsistent battery performance and pushed a fix to its Beta Software Program earlier this week. In response, Consumer Reports agreed to retest their three Macbook Pro laptops.
“Now that we’ve factored in the new battery-life measurements, the laptops’ overall scores have risen, and all three machines now fall well within the recommended range in Consumer Reports ratings,” Consumer Reports said in a statement.
New tests saw a more consistent 15.75 to 18.75 hours of battery life while initial tests resulted in battery life ranging all the way from 3.75 hours to as long as 19.5 hours.
The source of the problem lay in the fact that Consumer Reports turns off web browser caching in Safari during their tests. While they do this in order to create consistent testing conditions across different laptops, most consumers would never use the laptop in this way and aren’t likely to run into the same bug.
“This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage,” Apple told AppleInsider. “Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab.”
Apple partnered with Consumer Reports closely since the December review to uncover the cause of the test results. The issue was all the more important since this was the very first Macbook in history to fail to earn a recommendation. And given that Apple includes the Consumer Reports rating in their marketing and communications materials to consumers, the very first non-recommended rating would have been a huge black eye for the company and laptop line.
Interestingly, the initial rating from Consumer Reports generated a great deal of discussion and debate among consumers claiming to witness short or erratic battery performance on their own Macbook Pros. But considering the obscurity of the bug Apple uncovered, it’s not likely this issue will explain too many of those complaints. Apple is continuing to investigate customer issues as they’re raised.