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Apple Crashes in Annual Laptop Brand Rankings

Apple may be riding high coming off of WWDC 2019, but as a laptop brand the company just hit an all-time low. In Laptop Mag’s annual Best and Worst Laptop Brands report, the company finished 9th out of 12 brands.

This showing is even worse than Apple’s finish in last year’s report, in which it placed 7th out of 10 brands.

Apple fell down in a few key areas versus the likes of HP, Asus and Dell, which finished first, second and third, respectively. One area is design. Apple continues to stick with the same aesthetic year after year as competitors offer sleeker wares with slimmer bezels. Even if you take the lack of a 2-in-1 laptop out of the equation, other companies’ laptops simply look and feel more modern.

The MacBook Air was the only true new laptop for Apple in the past year, and that model was solid but unspectacular, offering the same controversial Butterfly keyboard with narrow travel and sticky keys. Its performance and battery life also trailed the competition.

Apple also trailed other laptop brands in the Innovation category — no bold moves this past year, just mostly refreshes — and in value and selection.

Yes, it’s nice that Apple has updated its pricey 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar ($1,799) and 15-inch MacBook Pro ($2,799) with beefier specs and slightly improved keyboards, but the $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar has been languishing for years, as its still stuck with a 7th-gen Intel processor.

For those scoring at home, Intel has recently moved on to 10th generation processors.

The 12-inch MacBook (also $1,299) is yet another ancient system in dire need of an upgrade. At this point its stuck between an iPad Pro and a hard place.

The one area where Apple continues to shine is tech support. In Laptop’s annual Tech Support Showdown, the brand placed first, thanks to its friendly and accurate service.

Overall, customer loyalty for the Mac remains high, and Apple just recently proved that it can push the software envelope with macOS Catalina. With the new software, you’ll be able to run iPad apps on the Mac via Catalyst technology, use an iPad as a second screen and finally say buh-bye to iTunes in favor of better specialized Music, Movies and Podcast apps.

But this report shows that Apple continues to go in the wrong direction with its laptops. See Apple's full report card and the full Best and Worst Laptop Brands report to see how every company fared.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for nearly 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.