Apple, Consumer Reports find smoking gun that caused variable life in initial review

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Date: Wednesday, January 11th, 2017, 05:41
Category: battery, Developer, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

Apple and Consumer Reports may have figured out what caused the poor battery test results that Consumer Reports highlighted during its review.

On Tuesday, both companies released reports stating that a developer setting had been activated that typical users don’t use during testing, and also that the same setting has a bug that affects performance.

In its review of the MacBook Pro, Consumer Reports said its battery life test results varied wildly, from 4 hours to 19 hours. Consumer Reports explained on its website that its notebook battery tests do not necessarily reflect real-world usage; instead, tests are designed to be consistent across different notebook for comparison’s sake. In the case of the MacBook Pro, Consumer Reports’ battery tests uses Safari in Developer mode, which is not the default setting.


To enable Developer mode in Safari, go to Safari’s preferences and then click on the Advanced tab. Check the box at the bottom on the window that says, “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”
Consumer Reports’ battery test involves downloading “a series of 10 webpages repeatedly,” but the publication turns off Safari’s caching ability in order to load fresh webpages. Caching is on by default, and the only way to turn it off is by using Safari in Developer mode. “This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple offered the following comment:

“[Consumer Reports’] 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.”

The Developer mode in Safari proves interesting in that it can disable the web browser’s cache, causing it to ping a web server every time and reload all the content of a page, even if an element has already been downloaded. Consumer Reports disables the cache “to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops, and it also puts batteries through a tougher workout.”

Following a series of retests Consumer Reports stated that the MacBook Pro produced “consistently high battery life results.” Consumer Reports said it is retesting the MacBook Pro and will update its review. As for the bug, Apple has created a fix and it’s currently being tested as part of the Beta Software Program. Once the beta run is complete, the fix will be issued publically through Software Update.

The Consumer Reports review marked the first time that a new Apple notebook had not been recommended by the publication. The retest and updated review could provide a chance for Apple to continue this streak and regain any consumer confidence that had been lost since the initial publication of the review.

Via Macworld

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