Apple has bent the truth by advertising its iPad in Australia as having “4G” capability, thus misleading would-be buyers. For that, Cupertino has now been fined a whopping $2.29 million, Associated Press reports.

The case was brought by regulators shortly following the iPad’s release in Australia, when the company began advertising the tablet as “iPad with WiFi + 4G” though it cannot connect to Australia’s fourth-generation LTE network. Apple will also have to pay 300,000 Australian dollars in litigation costs…

Though the cellular version of the iPad 3 supports both 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands, Australia’s only 4G network run by Telstra operates in the 1800MHz band, thus leaving buyers to copy with 3G data speeds.

The regulators were adaamant that Apple needs to be taken to justice and fined mercilessly as a way of sending a warning to other big companies the world over.

Justice Mordy Bromberg said Apple misled the public and contravened Australian consumer law.

The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious. It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is pleased with the fine, arguing it reflects Apple’s size. They wrote in a statement the ruling serves as a deterrent to other companies thinking about bypassing local laws:

The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers.

This decision should act as a renewed warning that the ACCC will continue to take action against traders who take risks in their advertising, regardless of their size.

Though Apple settled the case with the ACCC earlier this month, Bromberg delayed an official ruling until he had details on how many iPads had been sold and were returned under the refund offer and further information on Apple’s financial position.

Apple now markets the “4G” iPad 3 abroad simply as “Wi-Fi + Cellular”.

Much of the blame for such a misstep goes to senior vice president Phil Schiller who oversees all of Apple’s marketing the world over, including advertising budget that will hit nearly $1 billion this year.

Schiller also approved Apple’s over-the-top Siri commercials, including latest celebrity adverts starring actor John Malkovich which have been met with “mockery in some circles”, according to a Bloomberg profile.


There’s no escaping the fact that Apple’s advertising practice outside North America was stretching the truth, to put it mildly.

Promoting the new iPad as having “4G” capability whereas it would only work on 3G networks outside North America is clearly misleading and Apple should be called on it, don’t you think?

  • samdchuck

    Apple should sue the providers in Australia for advertising a 4G network that doesn’t work with the iPad.

  • Mac_Guy

    i wonder why Apple didn’t make it compatible with all LTE bands?

    • Because Apple, like America, believes it can get away with whatever it wants to.

      • Mac_Guy

        ….welcome to the real world where everyone gets away with things. Look at T-Mobiles commercial claiming they 1000 times faster 4G speeds than AT&T, thats bullshit and yet it airs all the time on TV!

        I’m sure they have their reason but I was looking for a realistic answer to my question.

      • Imahottguy

        Right… OR it could also be due to the fact that when the new iPad launched, there was not a chip out there that supported every band of LTE in the world. Of course they are going to support US LTE bands before any other country- thy are US based! They did not do it as a big FU to the world, it was simply not possible at the time. Also, almost every iteration of 4G is using different bands right now, so how is Apple suppose to cover an entire spectrum? I understand how stupid people that just blindly follow what corporations tell them and all, but come on. When spending more than $100 on a product I make sure to research it, including reading all the specs and checking out reviews of the product. That way I know that I am making a good decision. I like Apple, but when the next iDevice comes out, I like to wait to see how the early adopters like it, and also if it works as wells as what I already have. Should they be fined 2.2 million? What’s the point? That’s not even a light slap on the wrist to them. Buyer beware?

      • “how is apple supposed to cover an entire spectrum?”
        So if they can’t do it, why false advertise about it?

  • M Last

    are you sure about that Australia has fourth-generation LTE network??
    they still stuck on 3G
    they will get LTE not earlier than 2015

    • I D

      Telstra has 4G

      • samdchuck

        The wrong 4G that is.

  • quietstorms

    Apple just lost 5 minutes worth of profits.

    • I D

      Actually, it’s 30mins according to The Sydney Morning Herald…

  • Yes apple should have been fined but i still get speed of up to 25 mbps which kills my iphone 4s.

  • In the 3rd paragraph, I think you meant “cope” with, instead of “copy” with 3g data speeds.

  • False advertising. Too right they should be fined. Just like any other company that advertises a product that doesn’t do what it says it can do.
    In this case not running 4G in the country it’s advertising it in.

  • Dan

    I don’t usually go into typo police mode but:
    -copy with 3G data speeds?
    -regulators were adaamant?
    A few articles today have been littered with such typos, just press spellcheck!

    • copy wouldnt show up on spellcheck because it’s spelled correct. He used the wrong word though, I have a feeling he meant “cope”.

      • Dan

        true

  • Totally appropriate!

  • ZiiG

    Bout time Apple was sued for they’re “4G” BS.LOL. They have sued for less.lol

  • If my phone have 4G capabilities, should not I be able to publicize it that way? Hell yes. I don’t care if your TV is ST, if my movie is 1080p I should be able to publicize it as HD. Just my opinion, selling it in Australia is not required to think that the 4G was meant to be used in that country.