New iPad owners in Australia scorned by false 4G LTE advertising offered refund

A speed test on a new iPad.

Apple has quickly responded to the accusations that they're misrepresenting the new iPad in Australia as 4G-capable by offering misled buyers a refund on their device.  That's not much of an offer, considering they're all within their 30-day return window, but a sensible answer to those that are unhappy that they can't get LTE access on their new iPads. Apple will also be shooting out e-mails to those who had bought a 4G iPad to clarify what it's capable of, and by April 5, they'll be putting up signs anywhere selling a new iPad reiterating the point. Apple is set to meet with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on April 18 for a mediation, while a trial is set for May 2, where Apple could face $1.1 million in fines per infraction.

Right now, the new iPad only supports US and Canadian LTE, making any branding abroad as the "Wi-Fi + 4G" iPad a little sketchy.

Following in Australia's footsteps,the Swedish Consumer Agency is actively launching an investigation to determine if Apple's marketing is misleading, while the UK's Advertising Standards Authority is currently assessing complaints made to them.

The new iPad is a great devices, and easily shrugged off claims that it was getting too hot, and though these false advertising claims are fixed easily enough with new packaging, marketing, and signage, Apple may be dinged by a few fines for not taking care of it earlier. There is some defense in that HSPA+ is being marketed by some carriers as 4G,  which is much more likely to be available in these international markets.

I think it's pretty clear that Apple needs to change the wording on the new iPad in areas without compatible LTE support, but how many consumers will be so offended that they'll return their new iPad over the whole thing? A recent survey shows that usage of cellular data on iOS tablets is relatively low.

Source: Sidney Mourning Herald, The Wall Street Journal, PocketLint

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

New iPad owners in Australia scorned by false 4G LTE advertising offered refund

23 Comments

Maybe Apple should take Australia off their list of the first countries to get their new products if they are going to be whiny bitches about it.

Nothing whiny about that. If they had just put a * and iterated the point that at this time, only US and Canadian 4G is supported, they would have avoided all this.

I agree if the country is going to whine and bitch about something like this when they are still within 30 days of the device launch they should definitely be removed from the list of countries that receive the device first in that case all countries that are not supported under the 4g requirements at launch should not get the device until a later date to avoid this headache all together.

None of the 4G networks in Europe are LTE. Yet Apple keeps advertising the 4G capabilities in Europe. Apple is 100% at fault here. And don't tell me they didn't know before the iPad was launched...Very, Very poor marketing strategy. It should hardly come as a surprise for Apple's marketing department.. Nothing Whiny about the customers or the countries consumer right's counsils..

So, if a company sells you a 4G device but it actually does not work, and you complain about it, that qualifies as being a whiny bitch?
Someone should give you a job as head of customer support.

Just another way of attacking iOS and its multi-billion corporation.
When you get as successful as Apple do, haters will hate, and always come up with ways to bring it down.
This bad publicity is good publicity.

There may not be a lot of returns, but that does not make it right to sell something as having a capability that it does not have. A prominent clarification should have been made from the start that said "US and Canada Only" in the countries that it would not be functional.
As Apple continues to rise to new levels, they will also be scrutinized at new levels. That is how it should be.

People in the U.S. should sue AT&T, Verizon, and any other cell carrier that claim they have "4G" service. They don't. 4G exists only in the lab at this point.
For example, AT&T has LTE ("3GPP Long Term Evolution") and HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access), both of which are simply bolt-ons to their existing 3G network. LTE and HSPA+ still require separate voice and data connections, over separate parallel networks.
LTE and HSPA+ are also far slower than the IMT-Advanced 4G requirements. 100Mbit/sec for high mobility (trains, cars, planes), and 1Gbit/sec for low mobility (walking, stationary.) There isn't even an official 4G spec yet, but it looks like LTE-Advanced will eventually be chosen.
Don't be fooled by cell carrier marketing. They don't want anybody to know that 4G will, when it is finally deployed, combine voice and data into a single IP packet stream. They won't have any rational argument for charging us separately for voice and data.

I agree. I have the AT&T iPhone 4s and it's always on "4g" supposedly when I know I'm barely getting 3G as it is. I would rather they put LTE as the icon. The carries should have embarrassed the first company to say 4g by saying there's no 4g. So what are we goin to call it when we really have 4g?

This past weekend in Nashville I was getting (NOT LTE) 4mbps data on my ATT iPhone 4 and 8mbps on my new ATT iPad. As far as I'm concerned this is a SIGNIFICANT upgrade in throughput and much less dependent on scarce LTE markets.

I'm in said country and didn't get the new iPad for the these reasons. Anyone that gets a device without reading up on it capabilities first is a fool... we do have "4G" in in Australia but it is using a different frequency, It's kinda like buying a ferrari and then complaining cuz you cant drive it at top speeed cuz of the speed limit...

Not only that but fining Ferrari for misleading consumers because their car wont go that fast in that country? Question is, are the iPads tied to a specific carrier? "4G iPad on the ___ network" would certainly be misleading or if the Apple store employees said, yes, it will be 4G on your carrier.

Well, unce upon a time Apple took pride in its devices just working, and that specs were not important, the user experience was, so it is highy unfair now to call people fools because they did not know the frequency of their 4G network. For the run-of-the-mill Apple user, 4G is 4G and that is all they need to know.

Well... then those "run of the mill" consumers should not be the ones raising hell. After all... if HSPA+ is available in Aussie, there is no problem.

A better analogy to the Ferrari would be buyng a Ferrari that only runs on diesel on a country that does not sell diesel. It uses fuel, but of a different kind. I would say its Ferrari's fault for selling a diesel car to customers that have no access to diesel without informing them first.

And if you could afford a Ferrari it's safe to say that you could assume the customer would be paying to have the diesel shipped in.