The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is going to court in Melbourne on Wednesday alleging that Apple misled the Australian public with its launch of the iPad 3 by claiming that it was 4G compatible. In fact the Australian Apple website still refers to “the new iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G” and constantly refers to the “Ultrafast wireless” feature of the device. It is only when you get to the features page that there is a footnote that clarifies that “4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada”.
The ACCC is seeking to get Apple to correct its advertising and offer consumers refunds if they purchased the iPad believing that it would be able to connect to 4G.
Telstra is the only company in Australia that is offering the version of 4G that is supported by the iPad. Called 4G LTE, it operates at several frequencies. The iPad 4G works at 700MHz and 2100MHz but Telstra only supports 1800MHz. Although, it is likely that Australia would move to using 700MHz, that frequency is currently being used for non-digital TV. It is unlikely that this will become available until 2015 at the earliest.
This is not the first time that Apple has marketed products to the world as if everyone lived in the US. Many of the advertisements for Siri, the iPhone 4S virtual assistant, initially focused on capabilities such as maps and service location that were only available in the US and are still not available elsewhere. In this case however, Apple has now been careful not to advertise these capabilities on their Australian site.
With the new iPad however, there were so few new features, that Apple would have struggled to market the differences between the iPad 3 and iPad 2 without mentioning the 4G capability.