The dichotomy between how Apple and the rest of the world see the new MacBook Pro is stark. Although Apple preaches that market share and "volume" shipments isn't what it's about, it's the first measurement Phil Schiller used to "prove" to the world that the new MacBook Pro is a hit. Speaking with the UK's Independent, Phil Schiller said that "we are proud to tell you that so far our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before. So there certainly are a lot of people as excited as we are about it." And yet some of the first reviews on the new MacBook Pro by the press like the Wall Street Journal, Engadget, The Verge and Mossberg didn't give it great praise at all.
This week in particular is proving to be brutal for the MacBook Pro and Macs in general. It began with former 9to5Mac reporter Mark Gurman saying in a new Bloomberg report that Mac loyalists were justified in feeling that Apple had abandoned them and even pointed to Microsoft hardware that's getting more Apple-esque as an alternative for pros users.
Then came Mossberg's review of 2016 and once again the reliable pro-Apple fan said plainly that Apple's products weren't up to their historic standards. He specifically called the MacBook Pro out for delivering poor battery life.
And to top off the week, Consumers Reports failed to recommend the MacBook Pro for the first time – or for as long as I could remember. As you can expect, it was the MacBook Pro's battery life that killed the recommendation.
The reports specifically noted that "Complaints about MacBook Pro batteries have been popping up online since the laptops first went on sale in November. Apple says that these computers should operate for up to 10 hours between charges, but some consumers in Apple's support forums reported that they were only able to use their laptops for three to four hours before the battery ran down." For more details about the battery tests, check out the full report here or watch the video report below.
Now here's the rub. The press back in October gave Microsoft the win over Apple when comparing product events and the excitement they generated. The MIT review was blunt by claiming that "Microsoft is looking like the new Apple." Both Gurman and Mossberg dumped on Apple but gave Microsoft a plug for their software and hardware this year. And finally, the Consumer Reports top 40 notebooks list for 2016 placed the 13" MacBook Pro at number 35 and their 15" version at number 39. Ouch! And the last straw: The report placed Microsoft's Surface Book at number 36, one hair below the 13" MacBook Pro.
Earlier in the month I posted a report titled "Microsoft's Marketing VP Boasts of Most MacBook Switchers to Surface ever Due to Disappointing MacBook for Pros." Knowing Microsoft, they're going to do a little more boasting and likely to say that they're catching up to the MacBook Pro – if not surpassing it; Something Microsoft has been promoting since it's launch as noted in the graphic below.
All in all it's just been a really bad week for Apple's MacBook Pro in the press. Apple will get their day in sun of course when they report their sales in January. I'm sure we'll hear that there was a nice bounce for Macs. Yet whether that will end up being a one quarter wonder remains to be seen. The unusual grumblings and bad reviews of the MacBook Pro would strongly suggest that MacBook Pro sales will quickly lose momentum once the holiday quarter is over. But as always, only time will tell.
For now, it reminds me of the famed Rodney Dangerfield line – the MacBook Pro gets no respect.