Apple Australia To Modify 'iPad+4G' Marketing And Offer Refunds

As expected, Apple's day in court with the ACCC ended with Apple agreeing to an undertaking that requires it to modify the way it promotes the latest iPad and offering refunds to any consumers who purchased the 4G-labelled model and who aren't happy it can't access 4G. Put rather more simply: the ACCC won.

Picture by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The undertaking by Apple includes three key clauses:

  • Adding the statement "This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks" to its site, store and promotional materials;
  • Sending signage with the same statement to resellers;
  • Contacting by email any existing purchasers of the "iPad with Wifi+4G" model (up to March 28) and offering them the opportunity for a refund.

Apple has agreed to get all that done by April 5. The court activity isn't yet finished, however, with further hearings scheduled from April 16, including a liability hearing on May 2.

ACCC

Republished from Lifehacker


Comments

    A great win for common sense and Australian consumers!

      This nonsense cements Australians as a bunch of moaners who want to play with the latest gadgets, and are too lazy or stupid to do their homework, or even read brochures. This is what Apple said:

      CUPERTINO, California―March 19, 2012―Apple® today announced it has sold three million of its incredible new iPad®, since its launch on Friday, March 16. The new iPad features a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics, a 5 megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video, and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life* while remaining amazingly thin and light. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G supports ultrafast 4G LTE networks in the US and Canada, and fast networks around the world including those based on HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.**

      After reading this, the first question I asked n the Apple store was, "does this iPad support LTE from Telstra", and the answer was no.

      Wake up Australia!

        If Apple can't get it's marketing right for a territory eg Australia it deserves a hand slap, which is all it received. furthermore, that is not the marketing used in Oz John. So pull your head in.

    But they're still allowed to advertise it as 4G, just with that added statement?

    Sounds like Apple has greased the ACCC's pocket yet again.

      No, I wouldn't think so. In reality, it is a 4G device, but they're having to advertise the proviso that there might be conditions under which the device won't operate optimally, and if there are clients who have purchased the unit yet on that premise, they're refunded appropriately.

      Personally, I think if I bought it expecting it to be 4G because of the marketing and advertising, and I'm upset by this omission, a refund to the difference in price to the equivalent 3G version (i.e. same capacity iPad 2) should be satisfactory.

    Look.. whether it is compatible with our current 4G network or not doesn't mean it isn't 4G capable. What they should be doing is advertising more heavily about which frequencies it runs on and educating the masses to check with their carrier on what frequencies they use. 4G itself is just a standard.. it's not specific to a particular carrier or a type of device or a type of service (you can still get mobile broadband internet without it meeting the 4G standard).

    What is misleading is that there has been zero effort into informing customers that it isn't currently compatible with the existing 4G infrastructure in this country. So putting a "This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks" sign and other notification around the place is enough. You can't say it isn't capable of 4G because it is..

    If there were not 802.11n routers for sale in Australia, for example, and the device was capable of connecting to 802.11n.. you need to be clear that the technology is not available in Australia at this time but that the device itself is capable of it. This is no different to the 4G argument.

      agreed. Now that is common sense.

      "educating the masses"..... lol. I agree with everything you say, just that educating this lot isn't that easy.

        I don't know, I lost count of the people I had to give 'the talk' about '4G' in the opening week of this device at the Apple Store.

      While you're quite correct, if the proviso "* Not compatible with any 4G you're likely to see" isn't clearly visible to the casual browser (as is the problem with their current disclaimer), then it's no less misleading.

      The uninformed consumer sees Apple advertising their new "iPad Wifi + 4G" as having "Ultrafast Wireless", then sees Telstra promoting their new "Super fast 4G" network - what other conclusion would you expect them to draw?

    Wow -- Apple lost a court case! About time :-)

      They've lost patent suits before. Germany in particular seems to have little patience for these sorts of things, and recently threw out their demand to have the Galaxy Tab 10.1N changed... again.

    This is called Karma, Apple

    Problem isn't with Apple. The device is perfectly capable of 4G, but the service offered by Telstra is not 4G. They will call it that, but it's not.

      So what it's 4G capable when there isn't any 4g networks it can connect to? It shouldn't advertise it that way then. Only when there is a 4g network out that is compatible then they can include that in their advertising. This just makes them look like they couldn't be bothered to alter from the american marketing.

      What? Your statement makes no sense at all.

      The service Telstra offers, that they've marketed as 4G, is the same service the iPad 4G can access in the USA. The difference is in Australia this service runs at different frequencies.

      So if the iPad is 4G then so it's Telstra's 4G service. If Telstra's 4G service isn't really "4G" then neither is the iPad.

      As the other repliers have posted already, our infrastructure operates on a different frequency, but it's still 4G (a cleaner 4G than the US has, due to a less messy licensing structure that we have in terms of what frequencies can be used for what), and so once Apple figures their kinks out and puts Telstra and Optus frequency chips into their iPads, their offering will be more compelling and accurate.

      Just FYI: Sprint and Verizon are on different 4G frequencies from one another (as are Telstra and Optus), but of these four carriers, none has occupied the same as any other. In other words, they'll need to manufacture no less than four chips for each frequency (and there may, for all my un-investigated mind, be more in other countries again). Obviously, this means higher prices, but Apple have massive margins, so they can stand to take a hit once in a while (note: they probably won't, they're probably mark them up rather than adsorb the cost, but I'd expect the ACCC will have words on that too).

      LTE has now been retconned as '4G', this isn't an Apple or Android thing, it's not even a carrier issue anymore. It's just standard practice, the nomenclature has shifted to include LTE technology under the '4G' banner, which is what Telstra offers. The iPad's antenna is simply incapable of running on their frequency.

    Did not appreciate that, my bad. So the new iPad is indeed not 4G, as LTE, according to Wikipedia, "is often branded "4G-LTE", but the first LTE release does not fully comply with the IMT-Advanced requirements."

    Apple lost nothing. They offered refunds--which they already give--and a notice on their webpage. They said "no, we're not doing stickers" to the ACCC, who had no further recourse. Apple is enormous and could have had stickers put on everything almost overnight, but of course they won't--because they are Apple.

      They had to change their TV advertisements and change all posters, you're misinformed.

      And Apple doesn't offer refunds under all circumstances. Change of Mind is a big one that the ACCC hasn't stamped out, and Apple hold onto their position of not offering change-of-mind refunds, and this is an effect on their systems. Their systems had to have IT changes to accommodate an option for refunds under the premise of "Change of mind", another expense. So no, Apple has had expenses associated with it. Not massive ones, I agree, but they are there.

        True enough, though anyone asking for a refund would legally be entitled to it under the "not as described" clause. If it's promoted as 4G but can't do it, Apple are required to give unconditional refunds.

    If Apple are offering genuine refunds, then surely the revenue losses incurred (from refunds and future sales) would be greater than if they engineered free 4G upgrades.

    Maybe the refunds aren't hassle free ?

    And if they've cast the iPad in bronze, solely for US networks, then Apple designers should be kicked from a******e to breakfast.

    Apple makes there devices for the entire world of consumers - if our crappy phone networks are not up to scratch , that's hardly apples fault is it ????

      Nothing wrong with our networks; they're just a different frequency. Apple isn't required to support them, but they *are* required to advertise their products accurately if they want to sell their products in our country.

        Ah, but we see in this comment, no offence Timmy, that the public are MUCH more difficult to educate than a simple "Its not compatible." People want to know why, but then when it gets complicated, they assume our networks are just crappy and it's their fault, regardless.

        I'm glad Apple lost this. It was potentially misleading and that's just plain wrong. It doesn't matter if you're device is capable of 4G technology or not, if it won't work in this country as advertised (ie. as a 4G device) then you shouldn't advertise it as such. End of story. Chalk 1 up to the ACCC for once.

          Oh, and Timmy, our so called "crappy networks" as you put it? Telstra is the only one with 4G and while it is currently limited in its scope, its' tested speeds have been in line with and, in some cases, above that of AT&T and Verizon....so, maybe not so crappy....

    Seven, I would hardly call it a network- in your own words..."its limited in its scope" and the fact that other telcos havnt got it rolled out shows that basically on a whole our networks in Australia are crappy - I wasn't just referring to Telstra.
    But arent we hanging out for analogue tv networks to be switched off so we can see truly amazing speeds.... I heard by the time they actually do this we will be way behind other country's in terms of speed..?

      It is a network, just a limited one. It's available in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane CBD's and airports- reasonable considering it is less than 6 months old. It'll be rolled out further over the next year to the rest of the capital cities and also, I believe, to Suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne. This is EXACTLY the same as what happened with the Next-G network, the first and still arguably the best, 3G network in Australia. Telstra is first again with their 4G network but it takes time to upgrade cells with the new hardware. Optus will begin their rollout this month (April) and Vodafone have yet to announce theirs, possibly waiting for indications from Telstra and Optus of uptake before they get involved, because they've been bleeding money over the last year and can't afford risk. Australia has less than 1/10th the population of the US and it is not feasible for the telcos to launch a complete coverage network as SOON as the technology becomes available. They have to give it time to make the investment back because of our low population.

      2 years from now, 4G will be nearly as prevalent as the Next G network. It's just numbers. As more people fall onto the new network, more money is made and more money can be spent. It is true that the telcos are waiting for the analogue TV spectrum (700MHz) to be switched off, but this has NOTHING to do with the speeds of the network. The current Telstra 4G network runs on the 1800MHz frequencies and runs, at actual tested speeds of up to 25MBPS. About a 10 fold increase on normal 3G and about 5 times HSPA+(3.9G and what the *new* iPad runs on here). These speeds are almost EXACTLY what AT&T and Verizon, the 2 largest 4G networks in the U S(and the world for that matter) are getting (and higher in some parts). So while Telstra's network may, as I said before, be limited in scope, that will change rapidly due to demand and in terms of the analogue TV spectrum, this will add considerable broadcast RANGE to the networks, but not speed. Speed is governed by the technology and hardware of LTE-Advanced, NOT the spectrum. The 700MHz spectrum will enable the telcos to have cells that broadcast over 15-20Km instead of the 4-5Km using the current 1800MHz spectrum available.

      Telstra is leading the world in their mobile technology. They've ALWAYS been on the forefront of mobile technology, one of the reasons they're more expensive (although they are STILL too expensive for what they provide). Our 3G networks (particularly the Next-G network) are amongst the best in the world. Just go to the US and you'll see. Apple had a choice when releasing this iPad- provide ALL transceivers required to run on ALL 4G networks across the world (no mean feat as there are around 8) or provide them for the largest and therefore most profitable. Fair enough, they chose the latter, but they can't then blame OUR telcos for not following meekly in the steps of US giants, because, apart from anything, our frequencies are different. They always have been and always will be. That doesn't make them crap, just different.

        I agree with everything you said, except for one little thing: NextG wasn't the first 3G network in Aus. The Three network offered 3G first.

          CJ- Well, spotted. I happily retract that. Still, Next-G was by far the best, no question :D

    Well the way I see it... The iPad has many improvements, and as others stated do your homework before making a purchase. It will still work the same as the current iPad on the nextG, the plus is better cams/resoloution... Once tired old Telecom/Telstra get with the times there won't be a problem. Why is it our country has a very good economy and our Internet is still worse than some of the poorer euro countries? There needs to be more competition with Telstra, a direct punch in the guts is needed to wake these blood suckers up.

    The ACCC should be investigating Telstra for it's network is not 4G but

    rather Telstra FakeG created by them Ericsson retards. Telstra's

    network is known in professional circles as "LTE Basic" which is not

    4G. 4G is referred to as "LTE Advanced" and by definition provides a

    minimum of 100Mb/s speed of which Telstra's FakeG network doesn't even

    do half of that.

    So considering hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted by

    Telstra on this gross mistake of building an incompatible network by

    world standards, it looks like some corrupt money is being thrown ACCCs

    way by Telstra so it can establish some pithy legal precedent that

    their FakeG network is 4G even though it has many downfalls including

    requiring custom handsets to be manufactured for it.

    Apple should tell the ACCC to crawl back into its hole for not knowing

    what 4G really is.

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