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Opinion: Apple needs to bring transparency to their battery runtime estimations, not hide it
A few days back, Apple released macOS Sierra 10.12.2 into the wild. In beta for a few weeks, the update innocuously played itself as a small bug-fix update at first. What shocked many of those who updated wasn't all the new emojis, but rather the fact that Apple pulled the battery's estimated ‘time remaining' feature seen in the system menu bar.Normally I wouldn't bat at an eye at a change like this, but this comes directly after complaints of battery life on the new MacBook Pros have increased. What is Apple doing here? Is this a game of simply ignoring the problem and sweeping complaints under the rug, or is there something bigger happening?When Apple announced the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, my immediate concern was battery life. I didn't think Apple would neuter battery life just to add a touch sensitive display, but I couldn't be sure. I breathed a sigh of relief when Apple announced the new system would still be receiving the now seemingly normal “up to ten hours” of battery life. That relief soon exasperated when reports from personal friends and others arrived that they weren't getting anywhere near the ten hours quoted by Apple.I understood what “up to ten hours” in Apple-speak meant. Just like when they say “coming in October”, it can literally mean up until the very last day of October. What concerned me more wasn't that people weren't getting close to ten hours, it's that they were getting no where close to ten hours. A common estimate I heard from others was that they were seeing between three and five hours. Not terrible by any means, but I'm getting two and a half hours out of my old 2010 MacBook Pro with its recently replaced battery. In upgrading to a new MacBook Pro I was hoping to see that increase much higher.After our own Jeff Benjamin ran tests that closely matched Apple's reported own, and still only got 8 hours, I knew something was up. If Apple's own public tests weren't matching what they quoted, then what is really going on? Apple's battery testing indicates certain pre-production models used to run the tests, but if the battery life between the units can vary by hours that should be indicated. The recent decision to pull the battery estimates from the system menu bar icon felt fishy and more as a result of the negative response around the new system's battery life.
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