New iPad: Apple in Trouble for Advertising “4G Speeds” Outside North America

Australian officials are a bit peeved at Apple’s listing of the iPad with WiFi + 4G on their AU website. The model of tablet is available for purchasing, but Australians don’t have access to the 4G network yet, so the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is filing an official complaint against Apple for what they believe is “misleading iPad 4G claims.”

The ACCC is claiming that Apple’s “4G” title on the new iPad violates the Australian Consumer Law by not making the technical capabilities clear enough for the average consumer to understand.

“The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new “iPad with WiFi + 4G” is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product “iPad with WiFi + 4G” can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.”

Frankly, Apple doesn’t do enough to be completely transparent regarding the 4G network and its compatibility. Obviously, the company doesn’t want to put caveats on the one feature they are pushing as the next big thing. It wouldn’t look good to tell the world that the 4G network is only available in the U.S. and a few other regions. However, Apple should be making the clarification much more obvious to consumers instead of just a footnote at the bottom of a very long and image-rich page.

Apple does include a special footnote under the “Choose a Model” section  on their Australian website.

The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada.

However, the above quoted information is not exactly “layman’s” terms. It does not outright say, “The 4G network is not currently available in your country.” If I were looking into buying an iPad with WiFi + 4G, this information would not lead me to believe I couldn’t have access to the 4G network from certain countries.

Australia does offer a relatively fast network through HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA and will not be the least bit disappointed with their data service. But there definitely needs to be some clearer information for the average consumer to make well informed choices about their purchases.

The ACCC is seeking injunctions, monetary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected by Apple’s 4G claims in Australia.

[via 9to5Mac]

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik