Apple fined in Australia for misleading iPad advertising

“Apple Inc was fined A$2.25 million ($2.29 million) by an Australian court on Thursday for misleading advertising of its latest iPad,” Miranda Maxwell reports for Reuters.

“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took legal action against Apple in March, after the computer and gadgets maker rolled out the first wave of new iPad tablets in the Australian market,” Maxwell reports. “The competition watchdog accused Apple of misleading customers with the description of its new iPad, which said it was compatible with a 4G mobile data network when it was not.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, Ms. Maxwell, from the very beginning, Apple said it was NOT compatible with Australia’s “4G” on their website:

4G LTE is supported only on the AT&T network in the US, and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans are sold separately. See your carrier for details.Apple.com

“4G” has devolved uncontrollably into a meaningless marketing term. The problem was Apple calling their iPad, “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G,” which insinuated that it would work with “4G” networks in many countries where it would not, due to incompatible networks.

Regardless, Apple use of “4G” was an glaringly amateurish mistake that never should have been made as it would obviously invite issues. Apple has since changed the name to the much more appropriate, if somewhat banal, “iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular.”

Also, by the time you finished the first sentence of Maxwell’s report above, Apple made six times the amount of the fine, so that’s hardly a deterrent. At these fine levels, if they so desired, Apple could claim that their next iPhone offers Australians unaided levitation.

Maxwell reports, “Apple ‘engaged in conduct that was liable to mislead the public,’ it said… Apple has already promised to email all buyers of its new iPad in Australia to offer them a refund and agreed to post warnings that its new iPad ‘is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX networks.’ Telstra Corp’s network operates on a different frequency to the 4G on Apple’s new iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

12 Comments

    1. I don’t think Apple should have to pay anything, as they stated on their site that 4G wouldn’t work in Australia. However, If I were Apple, I wouldn’t hype 4G too much in AU as that would lead to confusion and disappointment among customers, something Apple is obviously super-against. I doubt a lot of people will read the fine print.

    1. Both Samsung and HTC are selling 4G devices in Australia. Reviews of speed on network have been very good. Fingers crossed that Apple does not stuff up the next iPhone (4G). Presently anyone who want to have an Apple “4G” device that works with a “4G” network has to been in North America.

      1. No, Apple’s conduct is the issue here. The fine might not amount to much, but the ‘hurt’ from being publicly shamed should be sufficient to ensure Apple doesn’t try to be too clever by half again.
        Anyway, according the an Optus sales droid who cold called me yesterday to try and sell me an “iPad 3”, Optus will be rolling out a 4G network compatible with the new iPad. Of course, he could have been talking shit.
        I’d just be happy if Optus would fix their 3G network so I can get signal in inner city Brisbane suburbs like New Farm.

  1. Apple didn’t mislead me—the specs said it didn’t connect to Aus 4G, but I bought it any way.
    Apple sent an e-mail offering a refund, but apparently very few wanted to return.
    If you want Australia’s 4G you can buy a device from Telstra that connects with up to 5 devices via Wi-Fi.
    Trouble is that 4G mobile isn’t it my area yet.
    Hope the ACCC distributes their loot to we customers who bought the iPad 3. 🙂

  2. … how can you KockSuckers blame this on Obama and his Librul toadies?
    Apple messed up. A little. If there were no “4G” networks in the country, why even ship “4G” iPads to that country?

  3. It was an advertising blunder.

    In Canada and other “unsupported” (for now) countries, there is still zero mention of Siri in official materials (e.g. Apple Canada website), not even saying it’s beta. It’s there if anyone wants it, but you have to turn it on and suffer its major shortcomings in an unsupported country.

    Wifi + 4G was not an actual name for that iPad, any more than the 2012 one is “The New iPad”. But ironically they might have gotten away with actually officially naming them that, e.g. “iPad W” and “iPad W4G”, since they then plausibly say they’re model numbers (does “4S” *really* mean anything?) and not descriptions.

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