In December, tests of the new laptops showed battery life that was "highly inconsistent from one test to the next," Consumer Reports said. That issue, caused by a bug in the Safari browser, has since been fixed, Consumer Reports said.
"When we get results that are that wildly inconsistent, the only thing we can suggest to users that they can reliably expect is the lowest possible battery life," Glenn Derene, content director at Consumer Reports, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" this week. "We couldn't recommend them given that. We had communicated to Apple what our findings were and to their credit, they worked really closely with us. They wanted to get more data, they wanted to get more information. And we cooperated with them."
Apple told CNBC that during the tests, Consumer Reports had used a hidden Safari setting for developing websites which turns off browser cache.
"This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage," Apple said of the original "not recommended" rating. "Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab."
While the spat with Consumer Reports is resolved, Apple's new MacBooks have faced other criticisms, especially from professionals that do use more advanced settings. Creative professionals, once considered Apple's core audience, complained the update came too late, had too few USB and SD ports, and failed to make up for its lack of function keys.
"Apple has long since expanded beyond that base, especially if you look at the full set of devices including iPhones," Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, wrote when the laptop was released in the fall. "Apple clearly isn't selling hundreds of millions of iPhones solely to people that use Photoshop for a living."
Still, CEO Tim Cook has said, "The world's creative forces use the Mac to push the world forward."