Marco’s side goes like this:

Apple’s framing here is almost Trumpian, evading responsibility for the real problem — Apple’s bug — by attempting to insult the test (“does not reflect real-world usage”), discredit and imply malice by Consumer Reports (“a hidden setting”), and disregard the bug as irrelevant (“obscure and intermittent bug”).

It reframes the story to be about Consumer Reports’ own failings and Apple helping them see the right way forward.

And then there’s Gruber’s:

Disabling the cache should decrease battery life in a test like CR’s. And if there’s a bug, I can see why it might dramatically decrease battery life. But that still doesn’t explain how Consumer Reports’s testing showed results ranging from 3.75 hours (poor) to 19.5 hours (seemingly too good to be true).

I tend to lean more in favor of Apple on this one. Of course it’s going to do everything it can to minimize its bug. That’s to be expected. What’s less expected is for Consumer Reports to rush out an analysis with a battery varying this widely without doing more investigation first. If Consumer Reports’ second round shows a battery ceiling significantly lower than 19.5 hours - and I don’t see how it can’t, if the team is being careful and not falling asleep at the job - then I think this vindicates Apple in how it’s choosing to frame the story.

The narrative as I see it is this: Apple produces the best laptop it ever has in its history, with a bug so small that few people in real life would ever be affected.1 Consumer Reports does a sloppy benchmarking job and concludes it cannot recommend the laptop. Apple is rightfully infuriated, composes itself as best it can, and engages with Consumer Reports to find a resolution.

If I know anything about developers who feel their work has been maligned by incompetence, the snarky comments directed towards Consumer Reports will be internally ongoing among Apple’s Mac team for years to come.

They will have been earned, too.


  1. In his article, Marco footnoted:

    There are a lot of web developers out there, and I bet a lot of them use MacBook Pros. Power users, geeks, and developers are Apple’s customers, too.

    He has a point, and calling dev mode anything other than “real life” is an insult for those of us who spend 8+ hours per day at our computers writing code. But consider this: most developers I know who develop for the web prefer Google Chrome over Safari. The only web developers I know who use Safari are backend developers who don’t need a browser for all of its dev tooling. They’ve never created a breakpoint in JavaScript in their life. The kind of developer who would disable caching is the kind of developer who would prefer a rich tool set, and Chrome is the clear winner here. I could go into depth about why this is, but as far as I’m concerned it’s self-evident and there’s no question about it - it’s not even close. The only time I open Safari is when I’ve already got Chrome and Chrome incognito open and I need a third separate session going on. Oh, and when I’m fixing bugs that are Safari specific.

    When you look at it in this light, the steam really leaves Marcos’ footnote. Yes, there are a lot of web developers out there, but the universe of people who want to disable caching and who prefer to do this in Safari is exceedingly small. Yes, I’m nitpicking, but it’s important.

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