MBA Apple Edition

by Colin Berkshire

I am an unfortunate owner of a new Apple MacBook Pro.

I have been a huge fan of Apple. I have carried a MacBook Pro laptop for many years. I can even run Windows on it. I have loved Apple products because they “Just Work”.

One of the outstanding features of Apple has always been that they deliver more than they advertise. There have always been little surprises where you feel good. The best example is battery life. If Apple advertises an 8 hour battery life on their laptops you could expect 10 hours. I am just certain this was intentional and part of the Steve Jobs grooming of Apple’s image as being a premium, trustworthy company.

My new MacBook Pro advertised a 10 hour battery life. I like a 10 hour battery because then I don’t need to carry the power brick with me. I can work all day long and never worry about running out of power.

Well, the new MacBook Pro with 10 hour battery life runs out of battery after 6 hours. For the first time that I can recall, Apple delivered less than they promised. I ran out in the middle of the day and was stunned. I had to go back to the web site to confirm that yes, you are supposed to get 10 hours. A ten hour life is magical because it means you can use your computer worry-free all day long.

So I complained to Apple that my MacBook Pro battery is only lasting 5.5 to 6.5 hours when 10 hours was promised. They referred me back to the web page where there is in fine print the specific circumstances that presumably result in the promised battery life. It defines specific screen brightnesses and specific programs that must be used. I don’t know if they were truthful but in any event, I do not get a ten hour battery life.

So while Apple is technically covered legally, I still feel cheated. And, I feel that it is deceptive to boldly advertise a ten hour life when in the real world they don’t deliver.

But it gets much worse…

Lots and lots of people are complaining that they aren’t getting the advertised battery life on their new MacBook Pro computers. I am not unique in feeling cheated.

If Steve Jobs were running the company Apple would fix it. They would somehow make up for the bad battery life or at least would update their advertising.

But the Tim Cook MBA approach is different. Apple instead simply removed the indicator that shows how much battery life remains. So, now you can’t know how much battery life remains AND you woo probably run out. The only reason I can think of as to why Apple would remove the battery life indicator is that they want to sneakily hide from people the glaringly obvious fact that the MacBook Pro doesn’t deliver what it promises. I will point out that the remaining battery time display was accurate, It wasn’t a problem that the time estimation of battery life was wrong. The problem was that they didn’t want customers to see that their MacBook Pro computers at 100% charge would have a life of only 5.5 hours when ten was promised.

I really miss Apple being a trustworthy company that delivered what they promised. It was a true joy to know that you would have a quality product that would perform exactly as promised. Now, with the mentality that MBA schools teach, the moral contract with customers is irrelevant as long as there is a footnote to disclaim the non-performance.

Tim Cook is certainly a nice person. But he seems to be perfectly comfortable with footnotes and false promises (“exaggerations”). To me, he feels like a kinder and gentler version of Steve Ballmer…but as nice as he is, he is ineffective.

For more on the problems with the modern MBA,  see this excellent post.

Related: Why I Gripe Yet Still Buy Apple