Inside consumer reports how iphone, ipad, mac, and homepod testing is performed data recovery vancouver bc

Over the last few years, there’s been something of a cold war between many Apple enthusiasts and Consumer Reports, the influential magazine that conducts tests and publishes rankings and assessments of products across a wide variety of categories. Some Apple fans see a Consumer Reports as either unfair to Apple’s offerings, or even biased in favor of Apple’s competitors.

There was a similar controversy related to the 2016 MacBook Pro release when, on its initial assessment of the computer, Consumer Reports denied a recommendation to a new MacBook Pro release for the first time ever, citing a battery life issue, although following a few weeks of back-and-forth, CR later granted its recommendation.

Other Apple/ CR controversies in recent years have included the iPhone X falling behind both the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8 series last December, and the HomePod speaker ranking behind Google and Sonos offerings upon its initial review in February.


Following some often-contentious back-and-forth between Consumer Reports and AppleInsider, an invitation was extended to visit the Consumer Reports offices, tour their testing facilities, and speak with some of the organization’s decision-makers. On May 17, we took them up on it, spending about two hours at Consumer Reports’ headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y.

The laptop testing had testing in progress during our visit, so we didn’t get that great a look at that part of the facility. At least some portion of the testing was literally in the dark, as they ushered me through, the lights were off, presumably to test what the screens looked like in a darkened room. Other aspects of the laptop testing includes battery tests and other measures of laptop quality.

In our meetings with Consumer Reports decision makers, we discussed how the organization conducts its testing. They had some things to say about their values when it comes to testing: It’s scientific, analytical, and done according to the numbers.

"We have market analysts that look at what products we should be testing. And they will look at what products are unique and what products are widely available in the market," Maria Rerecich, director of electronics testing team, said. "So they make a decision about products in that category we should test. We have shoppers that buy it anonymously, but we buy it in the store and buy it at the website, so we buy it when it’s available to consumers. We rate products that we have purchased in regular retail channels. We bring those in, and we do our test."

All of the product testers are employees of Consumer Reports, with many of them on the electronics side having some background in electrical engineering or computer science, and sometimes the specific technology that they’re testing. Mark Connelly, the organization’s overall director of testing, has a P.E. degree, while Rerecich holds a masters in engineering from MIT and worked for nearly thirty years in the semiconductor industry, including as a chip designer.

"Our testers have all kinds of different experiences," Rerecich said. "The smartphone team knows about cellular bands, and they have a very strong grounding of cell phones and how those work. Just as the TV tester knows how TVs work, and they know from the technologies of 4K, and HD."

Consumer Reports will loop in manufacturers during testing when they have questions, or "things don’t add up," Connelly, the director of testing, said. And the communications with manufacturers are with all sorts of personnel- engineers, technical people, PR people and even lawyers. Consumer Reports also often keeps lines of communication open with manufacturers even when they’re not testing current products, to give the manufacturers the opportunity to "explain new and upcoming products and technology."

"We have manufacturers will come in and tell us what products are coming down the pike. And so that we know what their new product lines are so that we know what’s happening so we can plan for that," Shecter said. "And then while we’re testing the product, if we have questions we’ll contact the manufacturer. And if we get results where we’re going to call up the manufacturer in any sort of way, we will contact them beforehand, and get their comment and have a robust back and forth."

Testing for electronics products typically takes three to four weeks. However, Consumer Reports will sometimes run "First Look" features, sharing their first impressions of certain high-profile products, often published within a day of the organization receiving the product.

As for CR’s overall mission, the officials say serving the consumer comes first. And this includes their policy outreach work, such as a meeting in March with Commissioner Elliot F. Kaye of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which was attended by Shecter and others from Consumer Reports They’re also at work on The Digital Standard, a nascent effort to establish "a digital privacy and security standard to help guide the future design of consumer software, digital platforms and services, and Internet-connected products," much of them associated with the Internet of Things.

"We’re a mission-focused organization, we’re a nonprofit organization, and our mission is to serve our consumers," said Liam McCormack, Consumer Reports’ vice president of research, testing and insights. "Clearly, we do that in particular through things like safety and other issues. But clearly we need to be a sustainable organization, so we need successful products that will appeal to Americans that they will pay for, and clearly we must serve those customers as well."

banner