Consumer Reports will re-test the new Macbook Pro laptops from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), after the company noted a bug in its Safari web browser was likely to blame for the weak battery life in the original test.
Last month, Apple’s new computers became the first in the company’s history not to receive Consumer Reports’ cherished recommendation. The venerable review publication had many positive things to say about the devices, but “in terms of battery life, we found that the models varied dramatically from one trial to another,” it noted.
Apple today released a statement addressing the issue:
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results. 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.”
Consumer Reports also put out a statement of its own:
We also turn off the local caching of web pages. In our tests, we want the computer to load each web page as if it were new content from the internet, rather than resurrecting the data from its local drive. This allows us to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops, and it also puts batteries through a tougher workout.
According to Apple, this last part of our testing is what triggered a bug in the company’s Safari browser. Indeed, when we turned the caching function back on as part of the research we did after publishing our initial findings, the three MacBooks we’d originally tested had consistently high battery life results.
Consumer Reports has promised to report back when they’ve completed testing of the Macbooks with the Safari bugs fixed. Assuming everything goes well, the new devices will likely receive the seal of approval that Apple’s products have gotten so many times in the past.
Apple Inc. shares were trading at $119.21 per share on Tuesday afternoon, up $0.22 (+0.18%). Year-to-date, AAPL has gained 2.93%, versus a 1.71% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.