Newsletter Issue #544: Consumer Reports Wears its Mac Ignorance on its Sleeve

May 2nd, 2010

In the next few weeks, some Mac sites will slobber over the fact that Consumer Reports once again gave high ratings to Macs in their latest computer reviews. You’ll get the impression that Apple’s products are, at last, getting their just due in a magazine that has long ignored the Macs, or just presented them as overpriced PCs.

Well, my friends, it hasn’t happened. Indeed, it’s fair to say that nobody who wants to understand the vast differences between a Mac and a PC will find any help in CR’s pages, even though the Macs they did review in their tests of “119 laptops, desktops, and netbooks” got expectedly high ratings.

The problem is that CR fails to understand that it’s the operating system stupid! They look at the hardware in terms of specs and bullet points on a spreadsheet chart, and never explain that a PC is more than the sum of its parts. This is particularly true in their section entitled “How to choose a computer,” which focuses on “type and size,” “ergonomics” and “reliability.”

Now it would seem that superior ergonomics would present a category that’s tailor made for the Mac OS. But CR is concentrating on physical controls, keyboard feel, trackpads and transportability. Nothing is mentioned on how the user interacts with the operating system, or why Mac OS X or Windows treat you differently.

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