May 2, 2012
Who didn’t see this coming? One month after the Australian government sued Apple over iPad “4G” claims, the U.K. is ready to take similar steps, according to UKPA. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is looking into “potentially problematic” claims on Apple’s website about the new iPad’s 4G capabilities in the U.K. This comes after the agency received 40 complaints about “potentially misleading” 4G claims made by Apple about their newest tablet. According to the ASA:
When we approached Apple with the concerns that had been raised, it stated it had removed references to 4G from the webpage that was subject to the complaints. Apple also agreed to edit a video that contained references to 4G. On the basis that the issues that had been raised with us had been resolved we closed the case informally. "We have since been contacted by several complainants who have identified other potentially problematic claims about the iPad and 4G on Apple's website. We are currently assessing these new complaints. If it appears that the problem claims we asked Apple to remove are still appearing, we will investigate these new complaints.As of today, Apple has indeed changed their iPad website in the U.K. It no longer includes the words “4G” or “LTE.” Instead, Apple advertises the new iPad’s “Ultra-fast wireless. Full speed ahead.” It was just weeks ago, that we reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a watchdog group, accused Apple of making similar claims in that country. The ACCC wants Apple to change the name of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, because it believes the title is misleading Australian consumers. So far, both sides have been unable to come to an agreement via a mediation session. This means the fight could now move to federal court. Like in the U.K., Apple has now removed “4G” and “LTE” language from their Australian iPad website. Whether this is enough to end lawsuits in either country remains to be seen. Apple’s problems, of course, are that it intitially advertised 4G in countries where the service isn’t available. As we first reported in March, the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G only works with 4G 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. Lawsuits aside, our suggestion to Apple remains the following. Apple should begin calling their tablet simply “The iPad,” with each model coming in a different box color. For example, Wi-Fi only units could come in white boxes, while those with Wi-Fi + 4G could come in black boxes. Then, depending on where the iPad ships, Apple could include language saying whether the tablet runs on 3G/4G/LTE. Should Apple fight to keep the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G name, or change it?