Apple is not pleased. Its just-released MacBook Pro lineup has suffered numerous reports of abysmal battery life, the exact reason why it failed to hook Consumer Reports' "recommended" rating, marking the first time a MacBook hasn't earned the accolade.
Not long after Consumer Reports' critical jab at the new models, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide marketing, has confirmed that Apple is now working with the publication to "understand [Consumer Reports'] battery tests," as their results don't parallel Apple's own lab tests and field data.
MacBook Pro Battery Life
Consumer Reports' laptop tests rendered inconsistent results for all MacBook 2016 models. The test involved using Safari, among other things, until the battery life maxed out. The 13-inch model sans the Touch Bar clocked in 19.5 hours of battery life on the first test, but was reduced to a measly 4.5 hours in the next. The 13-inch model with the Touch Bar clocked 16 hours in the first tests, 12.75 hours in the second, and 3.75 in the third. The 15-inch model ranged from 18.5 down to 8 hours.
"This is a real departure from past MacBooks. Most Apple laptops have scored well in our battery test, typically lasting much longer than the manufacturer has claimed," said Consumer Reports.
The Reason Behind MacBook's Battery Issues
Apple indirectly addressed the ballooning number of reports that entail battery woes via a macOS Sierra update that, among other things, removed the battery remaining indicator, since it ceased to provide accurate estimates, according to Apple.
But that didn't solve the problem.
"[We] repeated the battery tests using macOS Sierra 10.12.2 after it was released. We saw no difference in the results," said Consumer Reports.
Ars Technica has offered a detailed explanation of why the battery issues persist, and one factor stood out in particular: the discrete GPU on the beefier 15-inch MacBook Pro models. The problem is that the MacBook Pro doesn't have an integrated-only option for people who prioritize battery life. Sure, the laptop will jump from the integrated GPU to the discrete GPU to save power, but it still isn't a sophisticated solution. There's no way to turn either GPU completely for the remainder of a user's usage, and its implementation, or simply put, which GPU the laptop is using at a given time, will remain invisible to the user.
It remains to be seen whether Apple takes all the complaints into account and addresses the MacBook Pro's battery life woes. Let's just hope that it's a software problem instead of a hardware mishap.
Do you own a 2016 MacBook Pro model? Are you also experiencing battery life problems? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!