May 14, 2012 8:01 pm

Apple changes iPad 4G adverts

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Apple has changed the way it advertises the wireless capabilities in its new iPad after complaints from consumers and regulators in the UK and Australia.

The tablet’s ability to connect to 4G or LTE networks, which offer faster connections than 3G, was one of the main improvements when Apple released its third iPad in March.

But the California-based company came under fire because compatible networks have not been deployed in some parts of the world where the iPad has gone on sale.

Two weeks ago, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority stepped up its investigation into Apple’s marketing of the product after complaints from dozens of consumers that the 4G description was misleading.

In Australia last month, the consumer watchdog took Apple to court, again alleging that to market the device as 4G-compatible in Australia was misleading, because the country’s networks use a different frequency. Apple has offered refunds to dissatisfied customers.

Over the weekend, Apple began to remove 4G from its English-language websites. Apple would not comment on whether the decision was influenced by the ASA and Australian cases.

“The new iPad supports many high-speed networks around the world, including LTE in the US and Canada and HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA in many countries,” Apple said.

“Carriers do not all refer to their high-speed networks with the same terminology, therefore we have decided to use ‘WiFi and cellular’ as a simple term which describes all the high-speed networks supported by the new iPad. The advanced wireless features of the new iPad have not changed.”

An additional message on its Australian website warns buyers that the iPad “is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMax networks”.

WiMax, another high-speed wireless network, is also described as 4G by some operators.

The ASA said: “We have been working closely with Apple to address consumer concerns about its 4G claims for the new iPad.

“We have welcomed the co-operation Apple has shown so far in responding to our enquiries and we are aware that Apple has taken steps to amend those claims.

“We will be checking the amendments to ensure they adhere to the Advertising Code.”

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