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In Australia, Apple In Hot Water Over ‘Misleading’ iPad Ads

In Australia, Apple In Hot Water Over ‘Misleading’ iPad Ads

March 27, 2012
When the new iPad was unveiled on March 7, Apple executives highlighted two significant improvements the third generation iPad had over its predecessor, the iPad 2. First, the new iPad included a Retina display. Second, for the first time, the iPad included the ability to connect to 4G/LTE networks. But, not in Australia, which is why Apple will now face a lawsuit, according to TNW. According to the report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) takes issue with the iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G, because it “represents to Australian consumers that the product, with a SIM card, [can] connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.” Because of this, the ACCC will seek “urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device.” The problem arises since the new iPad only works with 4G frequencies offered by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, both which are based in the U.S. In addition, customers can connect to 4G LTE networks through Bell, Rogers and Telus in Canada. As a result, carriers in Australia are now downplaying the new iPad’s 4G capabilities. For example, Australian operators Telstra and Optus are taking steps to eliminate mention of 4G compatibility so that customers Down Under know the new iPad does not run on 4G/LTE. It should be noted that Apple does warn Australian customers of the new iPad’s limitations in their country. On the product itself, is a sticker that states:
IMPORTANT NOTE: This product is not compatible with Australian 4G LTE networks, and will only operate at up to 3G speeds in Australia.

New iPad - Australian Warning

Still, the company might have now recognized its original claim that the iPad would work with a SIM card was, in fact, incorrect. Apple’s website now includes the following revised language:
The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada.

iPad - Australia

According to the report, the ACCC will seek “injunctions, penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers who were misled, and will file an application in Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow morning.” Personally, I think this is a case of Australian carriers, not necessarily Apple, overselling the new iPad. And yet, Apple is likely in the wrong too since it included original language stating that 4G was available in Australia using a SIM card. Was Apple wrong to highlight the new iPad's 4G capabilities in Australia, where the service is unavailable? Or is this something consumers should have recognized before making a purchase?

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