Inside Consumer Reports: Controversies surrounding the MacBook Pro and HomePod

“On May 17, AppleInsider paid a visit to the Consumer Reports offices and testing facility in Yonkers, N.Y., where we got an inside look at how the organization arrives at its conclusions about products,” Stephen Silver reports for AppleInsider. “When we sat down with the Consumer Reports decision-makers, one of the topics of discussion was the organization’s past assessments of Apple products, including a series of controversies involving individual conclusions about the 2016 MacBook Pro and the HomePod in early 2017. ”

“Everyone we spoke with at Consumer Reports adamantly denied that they have been unfair to Apple, arguing that their mission and methodology is entirely analytical and data-driven,” Silver reports. “The Consumer Reports officials did point out one thing: Their testing process does not, formally, take into account the look and aesthetics of the product. And design, it should go without saying, is something historically very important to Apple. ‘We don’t care much about aesthetics,’ Mark Connelly, director of testing said during our tour of the facilities.”

“Having viewed their testing process and met with their team, we are confident that they do not harbor a purposeful anti-Apple agenda, nor is there any sort of conspiracy against Apple afoot behind the CR walls. Their complete testing and evaluation process is conducted with integrity and in good faith,” Silver reports. “However, there may very well be something about CR’s analytical, numbers-driven process that clashes with the design-heavy Apple ethos, and makes their conclusions about Apple products different from those of more traditional reviewers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Biased or not, Consumer Reports is a joke.

Consumers Reports never has known how to accurately rate electronics. It’s a joke. Consumers Reports gives too much weight to some factors and too little to others. The same goes for vehicles and many other products.

As we’ve often said, Consumer Reports is an anachronism for geriatrics to use to reassure themselves that they bought the right vacuum cleaner (even though they didn’t unless they bought a Miele – which they almost certainly didn’t since they’re a Consumer Reports subscriber).

We don’t think Consumer Reports is shady or on the take. They’re just not very good at rating complex products. Not very good at all. As Hanlon’s Razor states: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.MacDailyNews, October 18, 2017

Consumer Reports does it to Apple yet again – October 18, 2017
Consumer Reports’ deck-stacking, or incompetence, exposed – January 11, 2017
Consumer Reports’ weird MacBook Pro battery test results due to use of obscure Safari developer setting – January 10, 2017
Consumer Reports stands by its weird MacBook Pro battery test results – December 29, 2016
Consumer Reports says do not buy Apple’s new MacBook Pro, citing erratic battery life – December 23, 2016
Consumer Reports evaluates iTunes Store movie streaming, confusion ensues – August 13, 2012
Is Consumer Reports having its revenge against Apple? – July 10, 2012
How Apple and facts killed Consumer Reports – March 29, 2012
Consumer Reports was no iPhone killer and they’re no iPad killer, either – March 28, 2012
Tests prove Apple’s new iPad heat levels comparable to Android tablets – March 26, 2012
Expert: iPad heat claims overblown, not a real issue – March 22, 2012
What’s the deal with Consumer Reports and Apple? – March 21, 2012
Consumer Reports’ bombshell: New iPad runs hotter than predecessor but ‘not especially uncomfortable’ – March 20, 2012
FUD Alert: Consumer Reports to ‘investigate’ reports of iPad and ‘excess heat’ – March 20, 2012
Consumer Reports hops off free PR gravy train, officially recommends Apple iPhone 4S – November 8, 2011
Why does anyone believe Consumer Reports? – April 6, 2011
Consumer Reports on iPad 2: We didn’t notice any significant speed improvement – March 15, 2011
Consumer Reports was wrong on Verizon iPhone 4; so-called ‘death grip’ fixed by Apple – March 2, 2011
Consumer Reports: Verizon iPhone 4 has antenna ‘problem’; not recommended – February 25, 2011
Consumer Reports continues laughable vendetta against iPhone 4 – January 14, 2011
Android sweeps Consumer Reports’ rankings as iPhone 4 is omitted – November 17, 2010
All of Consumer Reports’ ‘recommended’ smartphones suffer attenuation when held – July 19, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s free Bumper case does not earn iPhone 4 our recommendation – July 16, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s Bumper case fixes iPhone 4 signal-loss issue – July 15, 2010
Consumer Reports continues harping on iPhone 4 attenuation issue – July 14, 2010
Electromagnetic engineer: Consumer Reports’ iPhone 4 study flawed – July 13, 2010
The Consumer Reports – Apple iPhone 4 fiasco – July 13, 2010
Consumer Reports: Oh yeah, almost forgot, Apple iPhone 4 is also the best smartphone on the market – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports: We cannot recommend Apple iPhone 4 – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports does their readership a disservice, says viruses target Apple Macs – December 13, 2005
Consumer Reports: Apple’s new iPod screens scratch-prone like iPod nanos – October 28, 2005
Consumer Reports dubiously finds 20-percent of Mac users ‘detected’ virus in last two years -UPDATED – August 10, 2005


  1. Consumer Reports seems to not take the whole product into consideration. Take Samsung phones, for example: It copied so many things from Apple that CR should give Samsung top marks for being the most accomplished copyist.

  2. They suck! Anyone who doesn’t agree with me is wrong and completely mad! Does it matter that apple keyboards are failing way, way too often? No! As long as it looks great it’s the best ever! Failing gpu’s on the older 15″ mbp, who cares as long as it’s pretty. Imac’s that throttle down under load so you can’t get the true performance from the architecture they advertise? All good with Me as long as its nice and thin. Remember the old 13″ white iBooks with the failing ATI chips? They over heated and died but wow what a nice looking system

    Now I love apple comps and toys, I own quite a few and have owned many many more but to blindly call CR out because they have had issues with apple products over the years is a joke

    Blindly loving all things apple will never get the best out of the company and these days we need a bigger push for quality and product design, internal hardware that is. I’m mean really, I feel so sorry for anyone dumb enough to buy a mac pro or mini right now, that’s getting ripped of as bad as any company could rip you off.

  3. The MDN blind hatred — without specifically identifying what CR does wrong when they run basic characterization tests that the typical consumer could understand — reminds me of the climate change denier narrative.

    First it was: “The climate isn’t changing.”

    But it’s obvious to everyone that it is. Ask the most conservative farmer, he’ll tell you straight.

    Then the Pruitt-believing dipshits retreated to, “well the climate has always changed, but mankind can’t possibly have any influence no matter how much pollution we dump into the atmosphere.”

    But the last couple decades research has decisively killed that meme, uncovering ice cores with thousands of years of air bubble samples. The continuous high rate of change of the climate since the industrial age is unprecedented. The amount of energy released in storms in the last decade are record setting.

    So now the deniers are working hard on narratives to find positive things to spin: “well, okay, maybe man did have some impact, but it’s good because your Houston McMansion will soon be tropical waterfront!” WE MUST BE RIGHT BECAUSE IF WE WERE WRONG WE WOULDN’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY.

    What’s pathetic is that MDN grinds its axe for partisan anti-scientific causes whether or not Google ads give them higher income or not.

    1. Jesus, is that you again, Derek Currie, being clueless as usual with yet another new name?

      You leftie ding dongs see a cloud or feel a gust of wind and cry out “climate change!”

      Grow a new brain, you need it

  4. I’m nearly 64 and have subscribed to CR since I was in my twenties. I have always been satisfied with my purchases that were recommended by them. Including my vacuum cleaner!

    I’m offended by MacDaily’s “take” that denigrates older people, like i am becoming. Be careful. Because, like me, you’re going to be home old someday.

    1. Well Rick, I’m older than you, and I agree with MacDaily’s view. CR might be useful if you need to work out which vac to choose, but only the infirm would take any notice of their analysis of electronic products. Might be tough to realise that some of our cohorts willingly (and sometimes not so willingly) embrace old age, but that’s their choice not mine – and it doesn’t invalidate the point.

  5. Of course CR is corrupt. They are the same as the 24hr news cycle, no one care unless there is drama, so if there is none you have to fake it. No one is going to go buy a magazine to find out most the products out there are about the same. Sales requires winners and losers, heros and villians.

  6. Consumer Reports introduces biases in the process of trying to eliminate other biases.

    As I’ve related on this site before we only have to look at a rating they did back in the 90s. In order to “remove biases” they rated computers (Macs and WinTel) machines using the *exact same* applications: predominantly Office for Windows. The bias that this introduced is that the MS Office applications that ran on the Mac had to run while emulating a WinTel machine. That added layer of processing made the MS Office applications run much more slowly on the Mac (sometimes as much as 4x more slowly). CR reported this: Macs are significantly slower for typical user tasks.

    Even if they had run the Mac versions of MS Office, those applications have *never* been as tuned/optimized for the Mac as Microsoft optimizes them for its own operating system on Intel processors. This was true even when Microsoft had a separate Mac business unit.

    So in the process of attempting to appear fair and unbiased, they introduced other biases that DID make the Mac look like a significantly worse product than WinTel boxes.

    But, CR is not alone in this. Way back when, Byte magazine (you remember them, don’t you?) ran a comparison of Mac versus WinTel. They “conclusively” showed that for floating point calculations a Mac with a 68030 CPU and 68882 math co-processor was slower than a WinTel box with an 80286 CPU and no math co-processor — a theoretical impossibility.

    The real bottom line is this, and this alone:
    How fast and how easily can YOU do what YOU need to do on any given machine?
    Nothing else matters.

  7. CR wrecked their reputation for insightful analysis and recommendation long, long ago. Forget about getting touchy about ignoring Apple aesthetics. It’s Apple technology and Apple’s quality, particularly the longevity and return on investment of Apple products, that traditionally flies over CR’s heads. A lot of people have suffered as a direct result. Ignoring CR regarding anything involved with cutting edge technological is a very good idea. Send Granny to better sources of technology reviews. Hide her copy of CR.

      1. Hmm. I suppose they would consider intuitiveness to be ease of use. But who’s ease of use? Granny? Billy? A lot of it has to do with talent, skill, familiarity, right brain or left brain. What’s typically strived for are common denominators within a particular context. Check boxes. Radio buttons. Windows. Desktops. Sliding things. Scrolling things. Those are some of the basic two dimensional elements considered ‘intuitive’ or easy to use. I suppose the profound reluctance of operating systems designers to use three dimensional GUIs is that we’re typing, mousing and trackpadding in two dimensions. Using 2D gestures to activate 3D objects is too confusing, not as easy as sticking with the old 2D objects.

        As for operating systems, CR has certainly compared them in reviews. But I don’t recall any formal ratings.

  8. Seems to me that MDN is becoming too elitist. Not everyone can afford the best (e.g., Miele vac) and need to settle for what is affordable for them, young or old.

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