back to article Apple Oz offers refunds for confused 4G iPad owners

Apple Australia will offer a refund to those who purchased the New iPad under the misapprehension it could hook up to 4G networks in Australia. The company made the offer today in Australia’s Federal Court, where it was responding to a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sought to stop the …

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FAIL

[The ACCC sought an order that stickers saying “"not compatible with current Australia 4G networks” be placed upon New iPad boxes]

Correct me if I am wrong, but don't you see the box only after making the purchase. Surely the idea should be to inform the user beforehand.

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Happy

If you're buying online or via another distance-selling method, I suspect, yes. I would have imagined that the ACCC would want an equally visible note alongside any online point of sale for the device too.

Not sure what I think about this one. Whilst it IS slightly misleading in the circumstances in the article for Apple to sell the new iPad with the "+ 4G" label, it's technically the same device as the one sold in the US where 4G IS available, so I can understand that Apple was telling the consumer what the product IS, not what you can do with it in the location of sale. Whether it could be argued that the focus should be on what YOU can do with it where you bought it or whether the focus should be on the spec of the product is open to debate.

Apple SHOULD make it clearer but I hope that they weren't being knowingly disingenuous with their labeling; they would have known that someone would be bound to notice, sooner or later...

I suppose the lesson for Apple here is that, despite their desire to provide a completely uniform product and service across the globe, they're likely to need to take local differences into greater consideration and tailor some of their products accordingly. (Another example being the difference between Siri's functionality in the US versus the rest of the world).

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Hmm - consider the "slightly" from my second paragraph, removed...

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Anonymous Coward

why confusion

I know the difference, I'm not confused. I know 4G in the UK does not exist and yet my new iPad arrives today!

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MrF

You hope they weren't being 'knowingly disingenuous'?

Now, why on Earth would you think that? After all, this is the same firm whose most recent OS rev causes all AT&T iPhones to show '4G' in their status bar.:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/7/2852560/ios-5-1-iphone-4s-att-4g-indicator

...and yes, practically every iPhone user you ask now thinks their phone's been 'automagically' upgraded. But 'knowingly disingenuous'...Apple? Never!

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Thumb Up

Crikey!

I wonder if that needs to be filed under the "bad decision" category rather than the "disingenuous" one. I'm not usually naive (at least, I don't think I am!) but it amazes me that a bunch of business/tech folks could get around a table, mull over the options and implications and STILL think that slapping 4G on every AT&T iPhone screen is a good idea.

I wonder just HOW closely AT&T worked with Apple on that decision (the linked article doesn't say) - it seems to be pretty disingenuous on AT&T's part too, to encourage it.

Thankfully I'm firmly rooted in rural South West England's network coverage: "LOOK! LOOK! I've got a whole 1 bar on my mobile phone signal!!! Oh, wait - it's gone again..."

P.S. And before you ask, it's not an iPhone and I'm not holding it wrong. ;)

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Facepalm

Re: why confusion

Presumably because this article covers Australia where a 4G network of sorts is available?

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Angel

Re: You hope they weren't being 'knowingly disingenuous'?

@MrF: This is what other phones label as "3.5G" isn't it? And so the cult were once again made happy because they were given half a G more than the unbelievers.

Knowingly disingenuous, Apple? Heresy!

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Apple’s layer rejected the sticker plan as “cumbersome.

What a load of tosh. More likely it's a matter of aesthetics (a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste) of sticking anything on an Apple box. The Ghost of Jobs wouldn't approve.

Perhaps the court should have stipulated the paper colour (fuorescent red) along with the font size (something in the 20's). That would certainly challenge Apple aesthetics.

One Cambodian mobile network is promoting 5G for it's new mobile/portable TV offering - many areas lack water, mains electricity, etc, But they have their portable TV's and solar chargers!

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h 2

Re: Apple’s layer rejected the sticker plan as “cumbersome.

If a sticker is too cumbersome, then they should recall all the boxes and print new ones :)

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FAIL

ok...

...so what 4G networks *can* the damned thing hook up to ??? Doesn't work here, doesn't work down under, doesn't work in most of the EU...

I know it's not a big issue given there is no price premium and 3G still works ok, but wouldnt you want to use 4G if your device was capable of it?

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Re: ok...

It connects in the USA - no surprises there as that is where Apple is based.

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Anonymous Coward

It's baloney as 4G is not even a standard yet - I could call 4-grannies 4G if I wanted.

HSPA+ (not sure if they have it in Oz) is what most people would regard as a 4G speed network as it's capable of over 20 megabits/s. There are plenty of 3G phones sold which cannot connect to all 3G frequencies in use worldwide.

I bet they get 'hardly any' back - the only people returning them would have changed their mind about it anyway = very few.

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@AC

> HSPA+ (not sure if they have it in Oz) is what most people would regard as a 4G speed network as it's capable of over 20 megabits/s. There are plenty of 3G phones sold which cannot connect to all 3G frequencies in use worldwide.

Yes, Australia has HSPA+. DC-HSPA+ at 42Mbps (theoretical), in fact. Telstra's NextG network has been the first in the world to launch each of the successive upgrades to 3G data.

And it's NOT advertised as 4G. Only the LTE network is advertised as 4G.

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Stop

100mpbs

The ITU defined 4G as a wireless network which can transfer at a minimum of 100mbps.

That said, WiMax and LTE are "considered" for most purposes to be 4G, because they have the theoretical potential to someday, maybe reach 100mbps.

The iPad supports US LTE, but not European or Australian (or probably anywhere else), so calling it 4G outside of the USA is deceptive.

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps the networks should buy more frequency / install more kit so they can support the new iPad ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Australia is actually already planning to support the 4G 700Mhz frequency the iPad uses. It just isn't there yet (waiting for analog TV switch I think)

So in maybe 2 years the new iPad will be able to use LTE in Australia.

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ITWSBT

So Apple is part of some plain to foist US designs for celluar infrastructure on the rest of the world?

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@Probing Analyst

> Australia is actually already planning to support the 4G 700Mhz frequency the iPad uses.

> It just isn't there yet (waiting for analog TV switch I think)

Actually it isn't. The 700MHz frequencies likely to be released in 2013 are NOT supported by either of the New iPads. The AT&T and Verizon devices are different, each supporting only one UMTS band in the 700MHz range. (UMTS Bands 12 & 17, I believe). Australia is not likely to end up with those bands.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UMTS_frequency_bands

Bands XII, XIII, XIV and XVII are all in the 700MHz range. AT&T use XII, I believe and Verizon use XVII. And the two devices only support one each! [I think Oz gets the AT&T one]

Australia is not likely to use XII or XVII based on the numbers I've seen.

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@AC

> Perhaps the networks should buy more frequency / install more kit so they can support the new iPad ;)

Perhaps :-) If it were available. 700MHz is not available (yet) in Australia. It's still in use by TV and other things. And when it is available, it's not the same parts of 700MHz that these iPads use!

It's not in the telcos' hands. It's up to the government to finish it's Digital TV frequency restacking and then release and auction the spectrum.

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Flame

Wrong way around

Apple should ask the court to order all the Aus 4G networks to put stickers on their towers and point of sale saying "Not compatible with the new iPad"

</sarcasm>

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It's ridiculous when there is no actual 4G standard and networks in different countries could use different technologies / frequencies.

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Facepalm

Standards

Blame the ITU.

4G and even 3G are NOT STANDARDS. They are a collection of capabilities only. Many Counties use different telecommunications standards, and operate on different frequencies. Until the communication is aligned globally these problems will continue.

HOWEVER, in Apple's statement (found elsewhere), they claim "The new iPad works on what is globally accepted to be a 4G network". AMERICA IS NOT GLOBAL. The iPad doesn't even work on all US 4G networks (not compatible with Sprint).

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Re: Standards

> HOWEVER, in Apple's statement (found elsewhere), they claim

> "The new iPad works on what is globally accepted to be a 4G network".

> AMERICA IS NOT GLOBAL. The iPad doesn't even work on all US 4G networks

> (not compatible with Sprint).

In fairness, that statement is accurate. It does work on a 4G network. If you count LTE as 4G. In fact, it works on 2 different 4G networks. And they're right, those two networks, running LTE, are globally accepted as 4G.

Still doesn't mean it's not misleading to sell them in an Australian store as a 4G device next to other devices that actually work on the local LTE (marketed as 4G) network.

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Devil

Re: Standards

Note that they don't say the unnamed "4G network" is globally available, just that its status as 4G is accepted around the world. A clever bit of semantic obfuscation there.

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AS I said in the other one, nice to see the ACCC has more teeth than the ASA.

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@lockwood

As I understand it, the ASA is an Advertising Standards Authority? The ACCC is a much more powerful beast. It's one of the regulators of the telco industry. It sets arbitrage wholesale access (ULL, LSS, etc) prices to Telstra's network for other carriers. It has huge power over that industry. It is also charged with enforcing the Trade Practices Act which is the Federal equivalent of state-based Fair Trading Acts which governs a huge range of behaviours of corporations.

Would a better comparison be Ofcom? Not sure?

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Let me speak for Steve:

You're holding it in the wrong country

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Man in the street

I appreciate that if you are one of the tiny number of people who surf IT web sites you will know about the problem already, but that is no excuse not to protect the interests of non experts.

We rely on advertising regulators to protect non-experts in other areas so why "buyer beware" when dealing with Apple?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man in the street

"why "buyer beware" when dealing with Apple?"

Because they're Apple and they can do no wrong. The supplicant must be holding it wrong.

</fanboi>

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Anonymous Coward

We will continue to mislead you but .

if you are daft enough to believe us you can have your money back.

From the worlds most famous con artists?

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Facepalm

thought competition is always good?

I guess nothing can always be a certain characteristics: competition is ALWAYS good, eating greens is ALWAYS good, drinking more water is ALWAYS good.

Ask the Californians about privatizing PG&E, and you'll know competition is not always good. -- now 4g is more fragmented than a bag of chips in a kid's knapsack, wasn't that supposed to be great news? Fight it out! May the best survive to serve humankind? -- "competition is always good" is a rule of thumb only used when you can get no more information about the matter to make the decision. Like occam's razor sort of thing. -- When they first conceived 4g, I doubt it took a moment of thought to realize the lack of agreement on standard would destroy opportunity for smooth global sale for manufacturers. And big guys like Samsung and Apple can throw more $ at it to have different plants make different 4G kit eventually, but smaller guys can't afford to hire more assembly lines doing different 4g implementation, that obviously damps competition more than anything else. all in all, nice standards body governance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: thought competition...

Based on previous articles, both here and elsewhere, and the posting of various rabid Apple fans/cultists, I'm thinking that (the Cult of) Apple neither likes nor allows competition in the arena of thought.

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Angel

Obligatory comment

Change your country. Not that big of a deal.

Steve.

Sent from my iHeaven

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Stop

Change your product's name

it's not that big of a deal.

And for once that was a serious suggestion- rename it "the iPad US4G" or "4G USA" or something like that. Or even "iPad + [major standard it works with]".

And stickers are NOT cumbersome. Why I have a sheet of them here, complete with (possibly apple-inspired) rounded edges.

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There is no such thing as "4G."

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