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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Apple going to be sued in Australia over iPad 4G advertising

Apple going to be sued in Australia over iPad 4G advertising
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simonjames
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Mar 27, 2012, 05:39 PM
 
Regulator puts bite on Apple with court application over iPad claims

Apple's marketing of the USA-only LTE as a universal 4G has landed them in hot water in Australia. Personally I think Apple were kidding themselves when they offered what is clearly a USA-only appliance to the rest of the world and marketed it as if it would fully function outside of the States.
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mduell
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Mar 27, 2012, 06:35 PM
 
Can't they call the HSPA+ service 4G per ITU definition? Does AU not have HSPA+? Or does iPad not support the HSPA+ frequency bands they use?
     
simonjames  (op)
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Mar 27, 2012, 06:47 PM
 
USA (and Canada?) use one set of bands and the rest of the world standardised on another set of bands and so the 4G will not work outside of the States.
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Mar 27, 2012, 06:55 PM
 
I instantly knew Apple was going to run into trouble over the universal 4G marketing to overseas customers. I think that even though Apple has taken steps to inform customers about whether or not 4G is available to them, the disclaimers should be clearer and more upfront. It's also a real pity that the US and Europe had to standardize on different 4G bands, but by now that's par for the course.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
simonjames  (op)
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Mar 27, 2012, 07:25 PM
 
I just re-checked the Australian Apple Store and the new iPad is still being marketed as having 4G.

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mduell
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Mar 27, 2012, 11:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by simonjames View Post
USA (and Canada?) use one set of bands and the rest of the world standardised on another set of bands and so the 4G will not work outside of the States.
For HSPA+ or LTE?
     
aristotles
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Mar 28, 2012, 01:19 AM
 
This is ridiculous. CDMA carriers around the world insisted on calling EVDO "3G" even though it was a lot slower in practice and theoretically maximum than HSPA and now we are supposed to also call HSPA+ (14.4Mbits/sec - 21Mbits/sec) 3G and DC HSPA (42Mbits/sec) 3G as well?

Come on, if something is as fast typically in some markets as LTE 4G is in others then it has to be considered equivalent to 4G in practice if not original specification. The HSPA+ and DC HSPA versus CDMA EVDO were developed and rolled out a decade apart from each other.

Theoretically, DC HSPA can support up to 84 Mbits/sec which is actually faster than what the iPad LTE can support on LTE which maxes out at 73 Mbits/sec.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_Packet_Access
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Spheric Harlot
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Mar 28, 2012, 06:13 AM
 
So, Apple is now offering full refunds to Australian customers who feel duped over the "4G" moniker.

I suspect that the total number of returns will tend towards zero, as people are too busy being happy with their iPads to care.

Cool.
     
amazing
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Mar 28, 2012, 12:37 PM
 
The real question is what Apple thought it was doing--because they had to have known that they can't advertise it as 4G overseas. Only ATT could pretend that HSPA is the equivalent of 4G--and talk Apple into listing it as such in OS 5.1. Everybody knows it's faux-G, but they can get away with that in the US, sadly enough.

So:

Did Apple do it on purpose? Or did Apple just not notice? Because any legal opinion would have told them it's not gonna work.

Since Jobs isn't around to check the details, did it slip thru the cracks?
     
P
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Mar 28, 2012, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Can't they call the HSPA+ service 4G per ITU definition?
No, it does not meet the definition. The 4G definition require 100 Mbit/s transfer rate for mobile communications and 1 Gbit/s for fixed communication. Neither HSPA+ nor LTE meets this, but LTE (and Mobile WiMax) are classified as prerunners of technologies that WILL meet these requirements (namely LTE Advanced and WiMax 2), and so have been permitted to use the 4G designation. A terrible, terrible compromise that only serves to give carriers something to advertise.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
P
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Mar 28, 2012, 01:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by simonjames View Post
USA (and Canada?) use one set of bands and the rest of the world standardised on another set of bands and so the 4G will not work outside of the States.
I don't think it's quite so clear cut. The LTE standard is more lax about the frequency bands to use, and (partially because of the NTSC/PAL split) different bands are available in different parts of the world. The sane solution would have been to mandate one band that everyone had to support and then allow optional bands, but for some reason LTE is not set up that way. Possibly it is because of the lengthy wrangling over the band to use for 3G (WCDMA), which delayed that standard.
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amazing
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Mar 28, 2012, 01:03 PM
 
And now Sweden is looking into the claim of false advertising.

Sweden May Investigate Apple iPad Marketing - Tech Europe - WSJ

The domino effect starts.

If Apple had just given it a model designation "iPad 4G" they would've gotten away with it...because that's just a name/model number.
     
P
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:23 PM
 
Not necessarily. Most countries have consumer protection laws that are stronger than those in the US.

That said: The Swedish Consumer Protection Agency has only said that they will look in to it because they have received complaints about it, and the representative is quoted as saying "This is something we will have to look in to, it is not entirely over-obvious", if you'll permit the straight translation from the Swedish. He also adds that "This advertising may fulfill the legal requirements, but it could be clear. It should be correct and not misleading. [...] At the same time Apple is not withholding any information". The point here is the word "misleading". Apple Sweden has changed the title "Ultrafast 4G + LTE" to "Ultrafast wireless" on the Swedish iPad page, but the rest of the paragraph is identical. On the ordering page, the 4G situation is spelled out, but one could conceivably look only at the iPad page and then go pick one up at some other place.

My guess is that Apple will clarify the text on pages around the world and offer full refunds to anyone wanting to return one, and that will satisfy everyone.
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amazing
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:49 PM
 
Thanks for the clarification: it'll be interesting to see how it plays out worldwide!
     
glideslope
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Mar 28, 2012, 06:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
Thanks for the clarification: it'll be interesting to see how it plays out worldwide!
Nothing except a few thousand returns. 4m from today the box will read the same.
Calculated end run on Apples part. Ok, don't agree with us? Here is your $ back. Look at the lines form.......
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amazing
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Mar 28, 2012, 09:12 PM
 
The drama isn't over in Australia. There will be 2 more hearing, probably remedy and penalty hearings.

Everybody would like to think that Apple got off lightly, but that's not likely to be the case. It is pretty massive false advertising.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 28, 2012, 09:25 PM
 
It would be if they massively advertised 4G.

I don't know about Australia, but NONE of the advertising material here in Germany is about 4G. NONE.

There's a small blurb at the very bottom right of the iPad Features page on Apple's site. But that's about it.
     
simonjames  (op)
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Mar 28, 2012, 09:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It would be if they massively advertised 4G.

I don't know about Australia, but NONE of the advertising material here in Germany is about 4G. NONE.

There's a small blurb at the very bottom right of the iPad Features page on Apple's site. But that's about it.
Ummm - go look at iPad – Das neue iPad mit Wi-Fi oder Wi-Fi + 4G kaufen – Weiß oder Schwarz - Apple Store (Deutschland) and you'll see the iPad being sold as Wifi + 4G

If that is not selling the iPad as being able to use 4G in Germany then I don't know what is . The disclaimer below does not state "this 4G device will not work at 4G speeds in Germany".
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simonjames  (op)
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Mar 28, 2012, 09:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by glideslope View Post
Nothing except a few thousand returns. 4m from today the box will read the same.
Calculated end run on Apples part. Ok, don't agree with us? Here is your $ back. Look at the lines form.......
Typical American attitude - stuff the rest of the world.

There is about an 80% chance Apple will be fined under consumer laws in Australia and other parts of the world. That plus the brand damage caused by the "we don't give a f" attitude will result in lost sales. Maybe then Apple will take notice.
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Spheric Harlot
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Mar 28, 2012, 10:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by simonjames View Post
Ummm - go look at iPad – Das neue iPad mit Wi-Fi oder Wi-Fi + 4G kaufen – Weiß oder Schwarz - Apple Store (Deutschland) and you'll see the iPad being sold as Wifi + 4G

If that is not selling the iPad as being able to use 4G in Germany then I don't know what is . The disclaimer below does not state "this 4G device will not work at 4G speeds in Germany".
That's the name of the product. The network is hardly mentioned anywhere as part of the advertising.

For the record, I stated before the new iPad was released that I thought adding LTE would be a boneheaded move, and I was (and still am) stunned at the complete idiocy of not merely adding LTE to the iPad, but creating TWELVE SKUs, NONE of which are compatible with the rest of the world once LTE should become relevant there eventually.
I just disagree that the naming is an issue, because it should be clear from all materials that 4G capability doesn't exist outside the US and Canada (if anybody actually gets to the bits where network speed is even mentioned, which, as I say, is at the very bottom right of the "features" page).
     
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Mar 29, 2012, 08:00 PM
 
Is the US on top of the world, wireless broadband wise, now?
I thought that Japan, Korea and Iceland were spanking everybody year after year.
     
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Mar 30, 2012, 04:51 AM
 
Not sure about wireless, but when it comes to wired broadband, it's usually South Korea first followed by the Scandinavian countries - the US used to lead but dropped like a rock after the line sharing rules were dropped - but why Iceland? Seems that they would have slow and expensive connections to the outside world.

The first LTE network in the world was started simultaneously in Stockholm and Oslo, but that was just a publicity stunt - the network is there, but it doesn't cover very much area. We're not nearly so congested as you are, so there is little push to build out 4G.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 30, 2012, 05:05 AM
 
Yup. LTE is not a going concern here, but we actually have very usable 3G coverage, so there's no pressure to rush.
     
mduell
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Mar 30, 2012, 09:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Not sure about wireless, but when it comes to wired broadband, it's usually South Korea first followed by the Scandinavian countries - the US used to lead but dropped like a rock after the line sharing rules were dropped - but why Iceland? Seems that they would have slow and expensive connections to the outside world.
That's the trick of wired broadband comparisons, they only measure the last mile speed. Run a gigabit fiber to the next cow pasture over and you can have the fastest wired broadband in the world, despite your 64kbps high-latency satellite link to the rest of the world.
     
simonjames  (op)
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Apr 16, 2012, 03:35 AM
 
Apple has updated the promo text in the iPad section of the Apple store to be more precise :-
This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX networks.
But they're still under court investigation.
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amazing
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Apr 20, 2012, 11:23 AM
 
The latest development in Australia seems to indicate that Apple is drinking its own kool-aid!

Rather than admit that the iPad 3 isn't capable of LTE/4G in Australia (because it doesn't have the antennas to support LTE anywhere outside of US and Canada) Apple counsel has filed a motion to convince the court that 3G is really 4G.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/london/app...t+All+Blogs%29

All it takes to refute that is to cite LTE speed test on a iPad 3 in the US LTE market, versus a 3G speed test on an iPad 3 in Australia.

What kind of weaselly counsel has Apple got down under?

Oh wait, it's probably the same counsel that advised labelling the iPhone 4 with 4G speeds under the new iOS! Yeah, like it's believable that the previous 3G iPhone4 icon could suddenly get supercharged by magic into 4G!

Either that, or the kool-aid works here in the US but won't work in Australia?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 11:32 AM
 
"4G" is a meaningless label by now.
     
amazing
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Apr 20, 2012, 12:59 PM
 
well, it'll be interesting to see how the court rules!

What's baffling is to see how remarkably calm people are about this: would people be as calm if it were Microsoft bending the definition so freely?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:41 PM
 
Not this "what is Microsoft did this?" again.

That applies to some things, but not everywhere.

It's the mobile providers who redefined the term.

You can fault Apple for kowtowing and following their policy.
     
amazing
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Apr 20, 2012, 02:57 PM
 
Darn! You mean we can't use MS as the villain anymore?

So, you really think Apple was forced into this against their (considerable) Will? Don't think so!

With the iPad 3, Apple's arrogance led them to believe they could get away with this...
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 03:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
Darn! You mean we can't use MS as the villain anymore?

So, you really think Apple was forced into this against their (considerable) Will? Don't think so!
Neither do I. Which is why I said one could fault them for kowtowing and following the cellular providers' policy on this.
     
abby
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Apr 21, 2012, 02:16 PM
 
thanks for sharing the link!
     
amazing
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Apr 21, 2012, 03:06 PM
 
There's a huge diff between 3G+ and real 4G, regardless of what the lawyers can obfuscate:

2012 'retina' iPad cellular data tests

3G+ is better than dry toast, but real 4G is huge!
     
simonjames  (op)
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Jun 8, 2012, 12:11 AM
 
Difference between MacNN and Aussie newspapers.

The local newspapers have the fine as a possible fine and MacNN as the fine being already imposed and Apple happy to pay up.

$2.2M AUD is not going to be noticed on Apple's balance sheet.
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