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Oz regulator to Apple: Don’t call it 4G if you can’t connect

Caveat emptor starts now

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Updated: Apple will refund As with most jurisdictions that aren’t America, Apple’s new iPad, which is only associated with the number “4” as in “4G”, can’t connect to 4G networks in Australia. That’s disturbed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is taking Apple to court over the issue.

The ACCC, appointed enforcer of Australia’s national consumer legislation, has announced its intention to seek orders against the Cult of Cupertino for allegedly misleading claims about the iPad’s “4G” capabilities.

Curiously ignoring the idea that anybody promoting a “4G” network is probably gilding the lily somewhat, the regulator says it is applying to the Federal Court in Melbourne on March 28, on the basis that advertising that says “iPad with WiFi + 4G” is misleading “because it represents to Australian consumers that the device can “connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case”.

The sting in the tail is at the end of the ACCC’s release: now that it’s moved on the issue, and since the nation watches its activities with an avidity otherwise reserved for major sporting events, consumers should not expect any favours after the court case is heard. As it states, consumers “considering” purchasing the “iPad with WiFi + 4G” should “ensure that they have a proper understanding” of what the fondelslab can connect to.

For those already stung by the mindless enthusiasm to be first on the block with the crucifix clock in possession of an iPad that can’t connect to 4G networks, the regulator says it will seek refunds as well as corrective advertising. ®

Bootnote: Would it be quibbling for El Reg to note that since there’s no such thing as a genuine “4G” network, in the absence of any genuine “4G” standard? Or would that sound like we’re letting Apple off the hook? ®

Update March 28: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Apple has agreed to offer refunds, and will run corrective advertisements. The ACCC and Apple are expected to return to the Federal Court today, presumably with some kind of settlement. ®

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