back to article Apple can't agree with Australian regulator on iPad 4G

Apple's talks with Australia's competition authority today over the little advertising snafu where Cupertino wrongly announced that 4G would work in the country have failed to come to any resolution. Australian media said that negotiations between the regulator and Apple hadn't reached any agreement. An Australian Competition …

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Can someone explain this to me?

They advertised their product as being 4G capable. It isn't.

What exactly is this discussion about? Surely they should simply be banned from making that claim again and made to compensate anyone who bought the product without knowing that the 4G claim was incorrect.

Why are they having to 'come to an agreement' with anyone? Do Apple decide what the law is or how it's enforced now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can someone explain this to me?

The problem is that It is 4G capable. There is working 4G LTE modem inside. Just not compatible with the frequencies currentlydeployed in Australia.

How do you name this, 4G-just not the frequency for this country? I don't know. But given the mess that is LTE frequencies and LTE systems (TD versus FD for example) around the world I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more devices with this problem.

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Stop

Re: Can someone explain this to me?

The problem is that the people who define what is or isn't 4G, the ITU, moved the goalposts to redefine LTE as 4G (only LTE Advance met the original definition, and no one has that yet), and at the same time redefined HSPA+ to be 4G also. Australia has 42Mbit dual-channel HSPA+, which the iPad can talk to, so technically it IS 4G in Australia.

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Flame

Re: Can someone explain this to me? I can certainly it explain to you.

You do not advertise it as 4G-capable in countries where it isn't - simple as that. How hard is that to understand and what part of that did you have reading difficulties with?

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Re: Can someone explain this to me?

iPad with Wifi + 3G would be entirely acceptable by the ACCC I would imagine. The 3G part of it works correctly.

The ACCC should definately drive this point home because its not that there aren't any 4G networks it will work with at the moment, there will *never* be any 4G networks it works with in Australia.

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Boffin

And more than that...

Yes, technically it is 4G according to the ITU's current definition.

BUT the legislation that the ACCC enforces doesn't care. It cares whether calling it 4G in Australia is misleading or deceptive. If you have a Samsung Galaxy 4G and a Velocity 4G and a Note 4G and a 4G MiFi device and an iPad 4G and all of those things can connect to the (only) network in the country advertised as 4G, EXCEPT the iPad. Then there's a problem. Line all those devices up in a row and the average consumer would expect that the iPad 4G could connect to the advertised 4G network just like those other devices can.

And if the statement is misleading or deceptive, or people (normal, non-technical people) are likely to be misled or deceived, that's a breach of the Trade Practices Act which the ACCC enforces.

It's not a technical discussion. It's a marketing discussion. Sort of.

And, it's not a matter of it supporting an LTE frequency that Australia doesn't have yet. It's a frequency Australia will NEVER have. The AT&T and Verizon 700MHz bands will NOT be released in Australia in 2013. It'll be other bands in the 700MHz range.

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Apple blatantly lied to their customers through their advertising. There is no grey area, there is only Apple behaving inappropriately. Hopefully they get taken to the cleaners for misleading thousands of people intentionally.

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Anonymous Coward

Except that Apple never claimed it would run on Australia's 4G network. It was clear from day one that it wouldn't. They even altered their Australian website to clarify something that was already clear.

http://www.macstories.net/news/apple-clarifies-ipad-4g-marketing-on-australian-website/

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Anonymous Coward

If I brought a device saying Wifi + 4G, I expect I can take it home and use WiFi + 4G, not have to travel to another country to use the 4G! its like selling a product that needs 240volts in the 110Volt USA, there will be problems...

I for one hope the ASA hold up complaints in the UK as well!

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Anonymous Coward

@jeebus

Get back under your bridge.

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Anonymous Coward

Nope

@AC 13:41

The ASA will bow and say "Your expectations were too high"

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Unhappy

If it was defined that 4G LTE and only LTE then the Aussies might have a case, but since it is now assumed that any sufficiently fast 3G is actually 4G I think they are out of luck.

On the other hand I would like that my iPad WiFi + 4G could actually switch to 3G after using WiFi. But everyone's complaints in the Apple forums still fall on deaf ears.

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I think you'll find that the Aussies have a case simply because they are the authority who will be making the decision.

However the fact remains that if you advertise a phone as 4G in a particular country then it is reasonable for the customer to expect that phone to work with the 4G network in that country. Remember a putative reasonable person is a common test in law.

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Anonymous Coward

I think you;ll find the Aussies only have a case if a judge in a court endorses it. The ACCC can state WTF it wants but it isn't above the law. Therefore what the ITU considers 4G may be relevant.

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DJV
Happy

Change the iPad's name?

Maybe it should be changed to "iPad with WiFi + 4G LTE (only) with 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) that's slightly fatter and heavier than the last one but is still shiny".

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Coat

Re: Change the iPad's name?

You forgot something - "...and has rounded corners."

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I suspect that Apple win not bow to the Australian Courts.

Very soon a missive from the US of A will land in Canberra talking about free trade agreements etc and the whole thing will slip peacefully away. Proving once again the power of the corporations.

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ooops!

I suspect that Apple will not bow to the Australian Courts.

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FAIL

Re: ooops!

You mean like they didn't bow to the Italian courts?

Methinks you over estimate the ability to do what one likes a little bit too much.

Apple advertised a product with a feature that does not work in the region. The fact it works somewhere is not relevant.

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Re: ooops!

Italy has a lot more people and thus is a much larger, probably more lucrative market. Still Apple being the corporate whore it is won't leave money on the table due to principal and will comply eventually after buying off the right regulators/politicians.

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Re: ooops!

Italy is also part of the EU, a very lucrative market even in its current state.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple is adverting a product with a 4G HSPA+ radio as 4G. They are also advertising it as 700/2100 LTE capable, for when VHA/optus deploy in either of those bands.

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700/2100

If/When Optus & VHA launch, it'll have to be 2100 to make those iPads work. Australia's 700, when it becomes available, mid-2013 earliest, won't work.

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You're holding it (in the) wrong (country).

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Anonymous Coward

"They advertised their product as being 4G capable. It isn't."

Depends what you call 4G - no-one really knows. It does HSPA+ which is capable of around 20mbps+ (100x faster than the actual 3G spec.).

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Anonymous Coward

They never said WIFI + LTE - they said '4G' and HSPA+ is 4G - end of.

What happens when some invents a new wifi - let's call it 802.11xxx - it supports current wifi and it does support HSPA+ which is a 4G network - all this 3.5G, 3.75G - no-one really knows what they all mean. If I remember correctly 3G actually means anything over 200kbit/s.

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"They never said WIFI + LTE - they said '4G' and HSPA+ is 4G - end of."

They said 4G. And in the Australia retail marketplace, that means Telstra's LTE Network. No other network in this country has ever been advertised as 4G. All HSPA+ and even DC-HSPA+ networks have only ever been advertised as either 3G, HSPA(+, DC, etc) or by brand names such as NextG.

And the ACCC is not concerned with the technical specs. They're concerned with the expectations of a consumer when they buy the device. And if it says it's 4G, bought from a store in Australia, next to a whole lot of other 4G devices (which do connect to the only badged 4G network in the country) then that customer could reasonably expect the iPad to be making the same claim. They would be wrong. They might (the ACCC believes it does) make the statement misleading or deceptive.

We all acknowledge the mess with naming and calling it 4G in the US is legit. Maybe in parts of Europe too. In any technical journal or article, yep. At retail point of sale in Australia - it's a problem.

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Alert

Once again, here is a case of Apple being arrogant little fucktards.

It's totally unreasonable to expect your average punter buying an iPad to be aware of the differences between a 4G network overseas and what is marketed as "4G" here. Technical specs can go fuck themselves; all the ACCC cares about is how an average consumer will interpret the claim that the new iPad is "4G" and if that means they would assume it will connect to the network that Telstra is marketing as "4G", then Apple needs to comply with our laws.

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