back to article Apple claims Aussie 3G is so good it's 4G

Apple has hit back at claims it misled Australian buyers of "the new iPad" with the unusual defense that Australia's 3G networks are so fast they are in fact 4G in all but name. Cupertino has been taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after is began an investigation into complaints from …

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Anonymous Coward

Ill buy that

IF the network speed is so good in the uk (upwards of 20 Mbps), Ill buy the Ipad, no matter what they choose to call it.

In classic Jobsian style, blame the system and everyone else, but never admit their slick marketing bends the truth.

Wankers...

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FAIL

Re: Ill buy that

"IF the network speed is so good in the uk (upwards of 20 Mbps), Ill buy the Ipad, no matter what they choose to call it."

It's not.

HTH

Steven R

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Re: Ill buy that

So let me get this straight: sodding carrier under the sun is quite happy to con the public about their mobile data speeds, calling a measly 12Mb/sec download rate (as shown in the article) as "4G".

Some of these carriers aren't even using LTE, but are simply beefing up their old 3G HSPA infrastructure. And, yes, they're labelling that "4G" too.

So bollocks to the Australian government. If they're letting their carriers get away with blue murder, why the hell are they only going after Apple? Their new iPad DOES support 4G if it's the HSPA-based "4G" you're talking about. It'll also support 4G LTE (in theory) in countries where that technology has been rolled-out and the frequency range is supported, such as many cities in the US and even Dubai.

Most cars can shift at well over 100 miles per hour. The fact that a particular country's road network doesn't let you drive at that speed legally doesn't mean the car can't go that fast.

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Re: Ill buy that

You got it backwards. In Aussie, the carriers aren't calling non-4G shit 4G; Apple is trying to push the same BS done in the US and Mexico that HSPA+ is "4G". Them using this argument shows off how the ITU shouldn't have backed down on their hard stance, and that carriers selling HSPA+ as 4G are liars.

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Holmes

Re: Ill buy that "their slick marketing bends the truth."?

Bends the truth? That's putting very politely. -:) Their reaction to finding themselves hoist upon their own marketing petard reminds of the Yiddish word for unmitigated gall - "chutzpah". It is defined in an old Jewish joke as "the guy who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court on the basis that he is an orphan".

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Re: Ill buy that

"In classic Jobsian style, blame the system and everyone else, but never admit their slick marketing bends the truth."

Indeed, and I hope the Aussie authorities will stick with their hard line. Facts really do matter to consumers. Apple have got so used to being able to fib to American consumers with impunity that they are forgetting that the rest of the world doesn't work in the same way.

That graph is a very curious piece of data. Assuming that this is something that Apple have put forward it is hardly doing their case any good whatsoever. The point is that under the right circumstances LTE really can outperform 3G. I imagine that Telestra have done some convincing demonstrations of that for their own marketing reasons. And as the roll out of Telestra's network proceeds the chances of ordinary punters encountering the right circumstances will only increase. But today's iPad cannot benefit from that. It may benefit in the future from the future roll out of LTE at other bands in Australia, but that's not what Apple are claiming in their marketing blurb.

Apple has never done a TD-SCDMA version of the iPhone despite there being hundreds of millions of potential customers in China. Most other manufacturers seem to be able to squeeze the requisite chippery into their handsets to tap even quite small worldwide markets without too much difficulty. So why won’t / don't / can’t Apple? I think it’s because they’re a bit light weight when it comes to engineering capacity. Do they have problems keeping hold of skilled staff? Surely even Apple would chase the TD-SCDMA market in China if they thought they could? And surely they’d want to avoid local difficulties like they’re experiencing in Australia?

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Re: Ill buy that

I think you have it backwards...

It would appear that the ITU is the arbiter of what constitutes 4G, if they say a technology is 4G then it is 4G. If a telco provides a service that falls under the ITU definition of 4G but decides to market said service as 3G then that is the marketing decision of that telco.

4G has an international standard and if your product meets that standard then it can be marketed as a 4G product. If you disagree with a standard then blame that standard but don't accuse the product manufacturer of "BS" or fraud (as others have done).

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Re: Ill buy that

Sounds to me like Apple have a legit case. 4G is now just a buzz-word, the same way HTML5 is (typically used to include JS and CSS3) so claiming to support 4G is not a simple standard you can meet.

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Re: Ill buy that

I agree with you, but on the other hand, why should Apple try to please the Chinese market when there seems to be such a strong desire for Apple products in China that young people are willing to sell their organs and their virginity for them?

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Re: Ill buy that

I randomly note that 3G is finally arriving in Thailand, after years and years of dithering/incompetence/corruption/rorting/etc. The adverts I saw today called it 3G+ which I gues to be the (I can never remember the acronymn but it's got HP in it) version.

This appears to be a remarkable case of honesty in a country defined by the level of systemic corruption that exists, expecially for the telecoms industry, formerly the private playground of the world's most individually corrupt elected politician.

Of course, it is unlikely to offer real internet speeds anywhere near the practical capabilities of the technology. As everyone who lives here can attest, "hi-speed" is a term that is meaningless. Download speeds is 32Kb on a supposedly 8Mb line are the norm, expecially if the site is hosted outside of Thailand.

There is just so much bandwidth available, and it is oversubscribed by the local operators here by about 10,000%

IIRC during my last visit to Australia, the internet seemed to be something generally unavailable to the traveller except at extortionate per minute rates, with speeds to match what I am used to here in Thailand.

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Re: Ill buy that

Yes But LTE the Real 4g is an new network but 12mb/s is More likely to happen on LTE then HSPA (my own tests around where i am HSPA is only an little bit faster then HSDPA so instead of getting 2-3mb/s i get 3-7mb/s with HSPA with the same network but the lower speed was more the average )

its like calling EDGE 3g when its not (2g is GSM/GPRS/EDGE)

3g is UMTS / HSDPA / HSUPA / HSPA as they are all part of the same system

4g is LTE and LTE-ADV it requires new hardware and is not directly compatible with 3G equipment (i guess dead WIMAX counts as well) officially LTE-ADV was to be the official 4G spec I guess they call it 4G+ when LTE-ADV comes

Three in the UK really need LTE-ADV more then LTE but with real 4G it would off load all them downloaders on 3UK 3g network onto the LTE network as its around where i am its making phones unreliable to use (Low speeds, Phantom Network connections so phone does not ring when it has signal but its lost the connection to the mast, phone resets the connection after 1 min when it happens)

In the USA I still think its very miss leading to state HSPA as 4G if the Area is over loaded it still will be with 3g HSPA upgrade,. just look at windows phones with the Nokia 900 phone they have called 3g 3g(HSPA) and 4g 4g(LTE) as it is 2 diferant networks (HSPA and HSDPA are not its just an upgrade to the spec)

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Re: Ill buy that

"""""""""""I think you have it backwards...

It would appear that the ITU is the arbiter of what constitutes 4G, if they say a technology is 4G then it is 4G. If a telco provides a service that falls under the ITU definition of 4G but decides to market said service as 3G then that is the marketing decision of that telco."""""""""""""

HSPA should of never been Forced into been called 4g when it is not an new network (4g/3g/2g are Diferant networks, USA Mobile networks are trying to make it look like Fake 4g(3g HSPA) has really speeded things up when in fact its most likely only 5-20% faster at best for Phones that support it that is) it should of just been called H+ or 3g+ like some of the UK networks called it (Orange UK shows H+)

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Boffin

Re: Ill buy that

> It'll also support 4G LTE (in theory) in countries where that technology has been

> rolled-out and the frequency range is supported, such as many cities in the US

> and even Dubai.

Nope. It will most likely not support 4G LTE outside the US. This being because the US, like before, picked a frequency that in other places in the world are either still using for Analog UHF TV, or being carried over to UHF digital television. I think it's safe to say that the 700MHz LTE frequency is only being used in the US and Canada. Elsewhere, LTE is assigned to 800MHz (as they did in Blighty), 1.8GHz (as in Australia's case) and/or 2.6GHz (which is being deployed here in Asia).

That said, I'll most likely settle for a WiFi only new iPad. I already have a subscription with a WiMax provider anyway, and as it stands my telco has not yet rolled out LTE yet (and they'll be rolling out LTE in the 2.6GHz spectrum anyway. Some rumor going around that an upstart company is trying to buy up the 700MHz range to transmit Pay TV encrypted DVB-T2).

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Re: Ill buy that

"Sounds to me like Apple have a legit case. 4G is now just a buzz-word"

Errr - not really. In Australia there are 2 commercially operating 4G networks Telstra's, and a much smaller scale wimax rollout.

The bottom line is, the ipad "4G" cannot connect to any 4G network in Australia, so you can't advertise it as a "4G device" in this country - people would reasonably assume that the new ipad connects to 4G networks - says so in the title.

So why didn't Apple just call it "the new ipad" in Australia and drop the 4G moniker, call it HSDPA instead?

Because the week before the latest ipad was launched Samsung released a proper (for Aus) 4G tablet that connects to Aus 4G networks. I suspect Apple didn't want their connection to seem second best in comparison at the point of sale...

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So they've progressed from deception to outright fraud.

Well played Apple, keep digging, you might strike Jobs.

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Stop

Its the ITU's standard

and if they say that HSPA+ and LTE (both of which don't meet their original definition, but are around 100 times faster than the original 3G) can be called 4G then who are you to say that this is fraud?

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Mushroom

Re: Its the ITU's standard

Who are we? We are the Consumer. Hear us roar!

<cough, cough, splutter....>

GJC

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Coat

Re: Its the ITU's standard

Well, the ITU is allowing non-4G speed devices to be labeled 4G for marketing (and it won't sue the carriers at that point), but AFAIK the actual legal definition of 4G wasn't changed. I looked to see if it had been changed, but looks like its still officially 100Mb/s on the go, and 1Gb/s while stationary for the 4G spec. Nothing to stop Government and individual lawsuits though, unless 4G specs have actually been downgraded. I haven't found anything saying the actual specs were downgraded, so it is still false advertising regardless of what ITU says in a press release. (unless there is a new 4G spec that has been downgraded and ratified)

From my own benchmarks, Sprint's WiMAX "4G" was only 6Mb/s and Tmobes HSPA+ is 37Mb/s. Neither is 4G, but at least Tmobiles is slightly faster than my Uverse connection.

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Re: Its the ITU's standard

It was quite easy for GSM network operators to achieve good performance. This is because the radio characteristics of GSM (principally it's time division multiplexing) are very well thought out and a miracle of their day. GSM allows network operators to put base stations up here, there, everywhere without having to re-jig their existing infrastructure too much. That's why GSM took off worldwide like it did.

It's been much harder for network operators to achieve good performance with their 3G networks. This is because the radio characteristics of UMTS and CDMA2000 (e.g. cell breathing and related effects) make it difficult to add additional base stations in the same way they could with GSM. 3G places a much higher emphasis on getting the network deployment right first time, and improving it once it's deployed is difficult and expensive. Basically, the 3G standards were drawn up in too great a hurry and everyone forgot about the need for easy network planning.

For LTE the standards writers didn't make the same mistake as they did with 3G. This time TDM is back in the mix, and that along with various other things will make it easier to put micro and pico cells literally everywhere, much like they can do to with GSM.

The point is that LTE has the potential to get very much better than it already is because it is commercially viable for the network operators to upgrade. So whilst both 3G and LTE today might not be delivering close to their theoretical throughputs, only LTE has the technical and commercial potential to get significantly better. Apple saying that a 3G device is as good as a 4G one is likely to be true for only a short period of time, after which it starts becoming a lie. I imagine that Telestra are busily rolling out LTE base stations as quickly as they possibly can, and iPads can't join in.

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Stop

Re: Its the ITU's standard

Comentards please note: the ITU have decided to use a new description for what they originally called 4G. This will now be called IMT-Advanced. 4G will be considered to be LTE, WiMax, "and other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement" over the original 3G. They won't be suing anyone who's technology meets these requirements and who calls it 4G, now or later.

HSPA+ meets this requirement. Dual channel HSPA+ certainly does, and that IS available in Australia.

You can see this in black and white over here

http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/48.aspx

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Re: Its the ITU's standard

@bazza

that explains why there are so many Dead spots for 3g then there is for 2g (i did think thats why they did not overlap the masts that much) but 3UK is the worst for not overlapping there masts so many dead spots or no signal spots its not funny (why i went back to my O2/giffgaff PAYG sim as i prefer the 3-5mb speeds instead of 0.5-1.5mb speeds and then there's the coverage)

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Re: Its the ITU's standard

@Steve Todd

Meeting the Requirement and been an New technology's is two diferant things 3g (UMTS to HSPA) and 4g (LTE to LTE-ADV) is 2 technology's and 2 networks it should be tied to that not the speed as that's how you can differentiate it

(HSPA is just an update or upgrade to HSDPA all the phones need to upgrade to HSPA enabled phones to benefit from it or all the HSDPA phones connected to the mast degrade the speed of the HSPA phones)

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Stop

@leexgx

What makes you think that LTE is all new? To a large degree its based on UMTS, which was in turn based on GSM. Its an evolutionary rather than revolutionary upgrade.

Non of this is relevant though. If the ITU says you can call it 4G then you can call it 4G. End of.

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Re: Its the ITU's standard

@Steve Todd,

Unless the ITU changed the legal definition of 4G (IMT-Advanced), they can SAY a company can call it 4G in a press release and not be sued by the ITU, but that doesn't protect the company from Government lawsuits and individual lawsuits because they violate the international standard set by the ITU. A press release isn't a technical paper on the spec, and probably hold little weight in court other than reducing the amount of damages that can be collected from Govt's and people suing. At least until the definition is *officially* changed 4G could turn into a Lawyer fest on a global scale... Until then the ITU won't get sued because its the international standards body, but anyone following the press release rather than the proper standard as written has their fannies hanging out.

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Re: Its the ITU's standard

You've got that the wrong way around. The ITU moved the goalposts. Legally 4G is HSPA+ or faster because that's what they say it is. LTE doesn't meet their original definition either, so THERE ARE NO CURRENT 4G DEVICES OR NETWORKS if you try to enforce the original meaning.

They created a new name for the original 4G definition. That's now IMT-Advanced, so when we finally get LTE-Advanced the marketeers can use that label.

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Devil

Isn't Australia auctioning 700Mhz spectrum for LTE later this year?

If this case drags on long enough the iPad might really support 4G LTE in Australia.

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Pint

Marketing must love this

So much easier to bullshit the masses when your product is as invisible & intangible as a frequency spectrum.

I especially love it when they use the phrase "..downoad speeds of UP TO xxx mb/s..." - bearing in mind that 'UP TO' does include the number 0.

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Facepalm

Re: Marketing must love this

I especially love it when they use the phrase "..downoad speeds of UP TO xxx mb/s..." - bearing in mind that 'UP TO' does include the number 0.

I take your point, but I dont really think a download speed of 0 qualifies as a download, I call it waiting.

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Re: Marketing must love this

I know, but it still happens.

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Might be a bit of an own goal for Apple, they bring out the next iPad and say "hey, it's 4G LTE!" and people say "so? I have an iPad 4 and it's 4G so whats the difference?"... "oh, you bought the one that we said was 4G but isn't actually 4G for you, this one is though so umm, buy it?"....

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Pint

David, that's precisely the reason the Aussies should pursue this. It's truly despicable how companies will do anything they can to sell kit or service, but will flip that on its ear the moment another opportunity arises.

Marketing people should be at the bottom of the ocean right next to politicians, lawyers, and Stephanie Meyer.

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ITU is going all mushy

I'm disappointed that the ITU got all mushy on this. It's clear-cut. CDPD, which added packet data to what was otherwise an analog system, got 9600bps. The earliest data options for CDMA, GSM, and TDMA were 9600bps and 14400bps. EDGE is 2G but runs up to 220kbps, while UMTS (a 3G tech) started at just 384kbps. So, no, I do not consider an evolved 3G technology to be 4G just because it is approaching the speed of the earliest 4G deployments.

We've got areas here in the States where an EVDO network (3.1mbps) handily outruns a competitor with 14.4mbps HSPA (which they now claim is 4G.) Certainly due to congestion. Not too many places though, which is why the EVDO carriers are generally rolling out LTE now ASAP (while the HSPA carriers are beginning to call their 3G networks 4G instead.)

In the end, though, what matters is typical speeds. If the typical speed is quick enough to do what you want and the price is right, then it doesn't matter what G the technology is.

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Re: ITU is going all mushy

i agree ITU should be stating the 3g-4g based on Network deployment (like in other posts 2g, 3g and 4g use Diferant hardware and frequency's) HSDA is an Upgraded on the HSDPA spec no more just it happens to be 2.5x faster then it (but in real use more like 5-20% faster)

it was Network operators that managed to force ITU to give HSPA the fake 4g logo when its not an new network

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Gimp

I call my 3G access "Mary"

I knew the Apple 4G wouldn't work in Aus, but I bought the iPad 3 anyway.

Call it what you will. 4G, 3G, Mary.

It works just find on the iPad.

Caveat emptor.

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Engage the footgun!

If Apple wants to claim that HSDPA+ is 4G then my Galaxy Tab (original) that I've had for a year is 4G, using the Optus network.

The reality is that only Telstra has LTE, and the only phone I know of that can use it is a special Galaxy SII that only Telstra sells.

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Re: Engage the footgun!

HSDPA has been around for an long time even my HTC blackstone had HSDPA and HSUPA and that phone is OLD (on the GALAXY Tab they mite be calling HSUPA > HSDPA+)

HSPA (or HSPA+ its the same name just with out the +)

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FAIL

If this was a car dealership...

- "Hello Sir, are you looking for a new shiny sports car? You have our 3rd generation 2 litre 8 valve engine. You need an upgrade. How about our new shiny sports car, the 4th generation 2 litre 16 valve Turbo engine? That is *FAST*! "

Client poneys up and pays, and returns 2 weeks later:

- "You lying bugger! There is no turbocharger on this car!!"

- "I know. Turbochargers are expensive to install, and we may have a turbocharger in next year's model. You *really* have a 3rd generation release 2, the only difference is 16 valves, but if we did not lie about the turbocharger, we could not gouge you for another 8 grand, and pretend that our cars are better than some of our competitors who do."

- "What? Give me back my 8 grand you lying toad"

- "Yeah right, see you in court sucker!"

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Megaphone

No difference from usual Apple bullshit.

"Sequence shortened", "User experience may differ" etc etc.

In short, when you buy Apple, you don't really get anything like the TV advert, but by the time you work that out, it's too late...

Of course Apple are untouchable in most countries.

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Anonymous Coward

It USED to be a standards Organisation

I have not attended ITU meetings for some considerable time, (the middle to late 1990's). At that time the ITU used to develop and agree standards in spite of attempts by the USA contingent to rail-road their pet interests. How sad it has been sold out to the commercial chicanery of a few less than honest 'special interest groups'.

I guess we can now expect Apple to come up with some other 'stretches of the truth'. E.g. put your data on a blue ray disk and throw it, Frisbee style, for really high speed data transfer, the new 5 generation perhaps?

Is the problem that Foxcon cannot yet implement the required standards?

Apple, the definition of sloppy standards and marketing that makes Dell Boy look honest.

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Car analogy

I akin it the following here in Australia.

Ford brings out a new 4 cylinder Mustang, however they market it and stick V8 badges all over it.

The car experts know that inside it's actually just a 4 cylinder and makes the informed choice.

To the common person who hears about and sees this new Mustang thinks "oh look, V8 badges, it's a V8, it must be so quick and on par with other V8's on sale." Subsequently goes off to purchase one.

Ford says, well we think our car is just as fast as a v8 thereby it MUST be a V8.

General Motors, Chrysler and other car companies knowing that marketing is the key to their next Christmas bonus all lower the requirements to call a V8 a V8 in America, (and push it across the world) saying that a V8 doesn't need to be a v8 and well a V6 can be a V8 too as it's too expensive to make a new V8 power-plant.

Australia says, hang on a second. We have pretty clear cut definitions for V8's. A V8 is a V8 and get's marketed as such here, we have real V8's rolling around going pretty quick and have been a major investment by one company who went and built a new V8 network. Sticking a V8 badge on a 4 cylinder is poor form and the average Australian Joe is going to get sucked in not knowing any better. We are going to sue you on behalf of the Australian people for being jerks.

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Stop

Wrong analogy

Its like Ford advertising a car as being capable of 200MPH, but if you run it on the low octain gnats piss that they call petrol locally it will only hit 120. Same engine, same spec, different local infrastructure.

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Coat

Re: Wrong analogy

No, "V8" is the right analogy.

It's not an iPad WiFi + 20mbps, it's an iPad WiFi+4G

Apple are now trying to claim that it's "as good as 4G", based on the performance (the "mph" analogy explains Apple's argument but doesn't illustrate their original transgression). The branding, marketing and implicit sales promise is built on (mis)representing the inclusion, support and capability of a specific technology in the product.

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Stop

But anyone who was that disappointed with 3/4/somethingG could take it back for a full refund if they felt that the ipad didn't do what it said. They didn't?!? so why are the government consumer affairs people going to courts? sorry suddenly became obvious.

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"Of course it's 4G!"

"...you're just holding it wrong."

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Astonished! Shocked!

Let's all back up a bout twenty paces and ask ourselves: Does anyone ever believe anything they're told about cellular telephone service?

Maybe life is different in Australia, but in Canada the working assumption is that all cel companies are populated by lying, dishonest, greedy scum. By extension, any claim by anyone that references cellular telephone service is assumed to be pure and unadulterated bullshit.

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Meh

Re: Astonished! Shocked!

No, life here is Aus is no different.

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Triumph of lawyers over marketing

If you thought that marketing triumphing over the engineers was bad enough, this exercise would appear to be gearing up to be a triumph of lawyers over marketing. The amount of publicity this has garnered in Oz (all the major news conduits covered it prominently) is enough that no-one is going to be fooled by a lawyer driven victory over a technical loophole. The damage is done, and anyone in marketing with any sense understands the first rule of holes. Stop digging, and work out a way to spin a backdown into some form of positive light. But if you continue digging, it never gets better. A victory will not be perceived as Apple acting in a manner they imagine they are viewed in the marketplace, but rather something much more squalid. It takes a long time to build a reputation, but a very short time to damage it.

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Anonymous Coward

Total non-issue - probably some Aussie lawyers wanting to make a big issue out of it. Apple have offered FULL refunds for anyone 'confused' and I suspect they will get almost none back - certainly very few more than they normal money back warranty. They have updated their point of sale material to clarify it - what else do they expect?

Basically it's clearly explained and anyone who says it was not gets their cash back = end of story.

HSPA+ is regarded by almost everyone as being a 4G network and it can be up to 100x faster than the actual 3G spec.

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some in the USA maybe (some less informed user thinking that saying the 3g spec is 4g makes things 2x faster then before if you call going from 1-2mb to 2-4mb an improvement)

in the EU LTE is the 4g network

HSPA is an Upgrade the the 3g network (and its Not 100x faster then HSDPA more like 5-20% faster unless your area is not heavy loaded) anything is faster then basic 3g UMTS speeds

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Anonymous Coward

"Ford brings out a new 4 cylinder Mustang, however they market it and stick V8 badges all over it."

Apples and pears if you pardon the pun.

The difference is the 4 cyl. Mustang can never be a V8 - the iPad + 4G does support 4th Generation networks (although there is a question over the LTE frequencies) but it still supports HSPA+ which is now regarded as a 4G network.

The sooner these things were actually properly defined the better - 3G is technically anything over 200kbps - so does not sound unreasonable (now) that 4G would be anything over 10-20mbps (50-100x faster).

4G does not have to be WiMax or LTE or HSPA+ - it could be any of them - the important point is the speed it is capable of.

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