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Australian government accuses Apple of 'misleading' 4G claims with new iPad

post #1 of 198
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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced it will take Apple to court over "misleading" advertisements showing its newest touchscreen tablet runs at 4G speeds in Australia.

Though the new iPad runs at 4G LTE speeds on some carriers in North America, the device is not compatible with Australia's 4G network on the 1800MHz frequency. Because of that, the ACCC seeks "injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected," according to news.com.au.

The ACCC issued an official statement on Tuesday stating that it will make an application in federal court in Melbourne at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday "for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law."

"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," the statement reads.

The commission seeks to ensure that consumers "are made aware of the correct technical capabilities" of Apple's new iPad. Australia was one of 10 countries to receive the iPad on its launch day of March 16, joining the U.S., Canada. U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.




Sales of the iPad in its first three days of availability in those 10 countries reached a record 3 million units over its launch weekend. That's a tenfold increase over the 300,000 units the first-generation iPad sold on its first day.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 198
This is a BS lawsuit, because look at the sticker ifixit found on their Australian iPad 3 (half way down the page)
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-...eardown/8277/1

It clearly states that it will only run at 3G speeds.
post #3 of 198
like, really... the Australian Gov allows bee commericals that sort of promise a blonde girl upon drink the beer, but after thinking about what has happened in the ad you know it will never hppen. In Canada, those beer ads are Banned, due to "lifestyle ads". we also banned misleading ads... but this apple 4G ad promises UP TO 4gLTE speeds. (somewhere in the world) ... yes maybe not australia, but the Guggenheim museum is in New York, usa.
they maybe have a case , if you cannot get 4gLTE speeds in New York by the Guggenheim museum... \
post #4 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

This is a BS lawsuit, because look at the sticker ifixit found on their Australian iPad 3 (half way down the page)
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-...eardown/8277/1

It clearly states that it will only run at 3G speeds.

This is only once you open the box. The problem is with the advertising that try to sell a feature that is unusable in the geography. In Australia it is effectively a 3G device. This is part if the problem when a specification I a Lipitor loose on what can be a GSM 4G device.
post #5 of 198
I have to say, I think this is great. The fact that Apple calls it the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model is misleading, as the iPad is not capable of using 4G here in Japan. It may not matter to those of you in the States, but everywhere else in the world, it matters.
post #6 of 198
The same should happen all over the world. Where I live in the UK the iPad is of course sold as 4G, but there are no 4G networks here, and when there are, they won't work with the iPad 4G.

It's a scam, and clearly designed to mislead consumers. Of course you can look at the small print and see it's a scam, but how many will do that? It's akin to advertising a car as being capable of doing 200mph*.

* - when towed by a rocket powered dragster.

Yes you could buy a rocket powered dragster, or in the iPad's case, travel to America to use it, but in reality that's never going to happen.
post #7 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

This is a BS lawsuit, because look at the sticker ifixit found on their Australian iPad 3 (half way down the page)
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-...eardown/8277/1

It clearly states that it will only run at 3G speeds.

The promotional material does not and that is the problem. From TFA:

"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," the statement reads.

The simple fact is that the iPad CANNOT do 4G in Australia but it is being sold as a 4G device. That might be fine promotion where you are but the ACCC takes this kind of shit seriously. You can't hide those kinds of limitations in the fine print.
post #8 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

This is only once you open the box.

The Sticker is outside the box, right above the sticker that says what is the model of the iPad that's on the box...

On Apple's website they explain the 4G situation. Other than that, the only place where you can see the 4G reference is on the box, and they can argue that the "4G" refers to the model only...

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post #9 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

This is only once you open the box. The problem is with the advertising that try to sell a feature that is unusable in the geography. In Australia it is effectively a 3G device. This is part if the problem when a specification I a Lipitor loose on what can be a GSM 4G device.

It's not only the sticker though, there is also a warning on apple.com.au/store. And the only TV ad on apple.com.au is one that focuses on the retina display and doesn't even mention the connectivity.

Ultimately I think it's just a difference in terminology. When an Australian reads WiFi + 4G, what he sees is WiFi + LTE, but that's not what an American means by 4G.
post #10 of 198
It's advertised as "WiFi + 4G" here in the UK even though we don't have any 4G networks. The AppleStore couldn't even guarantee that it would work with UK 4G networks when they launch sometime next year.

Maybe they should have launched 3 models instead of 2: WiFi, 3G and 4G. Then just release the 4G model in countries as and when they launch their 4G networks to make sure the iPad 4G is compatible.
post #11 of 198
For the first time I really think Apple got this wrong. Apple is the brand that stands for simplicity and 'just works'. So, if Apple advertises something as 4G, people think it will be 4G. If Apple requires people to look for additional stickers on the box or wherever - that is not what Apple should stand for. And there is a lot of complaint on e.g. german Apple fansites about this. So, Apple got this completely wrong. Especially as it wouldn't have been difficult to phrase this differently '4G capable', '4G ready', ... well actually that wouldn't be Apple either, would it?
post #12 of 198
Let lawsuits fly, let new laws be made. All for the sake of a few illiterates. Whether it's ACCC or the lady that walks into a door.

How do the rest of us opt out of this stupidity?
post #13 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

The simple fact is that the iPad CANNOT do 4G in Australia but it is being sold as a 4G device. That might be fine promotion where you are but the ACCC takes this kind of shit seriously. You can't hide those kinds of limitations in the fine print.

Yes it can do 4G in Australia, because Telstra has HSPA+.
4G != LTE.
4G is really just a very poorly defined marketing term.
post #14 of 198
I can see consumer's being confused if they pay a quick visit to Apple's Aussie website to look at the models.

http://store.apple.com/au/browse/hom...ad/select_ipad

Why would Apple make the text on their Australian store site extolling the advantage of the 4G's fast mobile network larger than the disclaimer saying 4G is available in North America unless they would hope some purchasers might not notice? Add the fact they never go so far in their disclaimer to tell a buyer that 4G service isn't available in Australia, just mentioning worldwide roaming "on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA." How many typical consumers would know what that meant compared to the number who have some idea about 4G service, which is available to smartphone buyers (other than iPhone)?

IMHO Apple is misleading.
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post #15 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

The same should happen all over the world. Where I live in the UK the iPad is of course sold as 4G, but there are no 4G networks here, and when there are, they won't work with the iPad 4G.

It's a scam, and clearly designed to mislead consumers. Of course you can look at the small print and see it's a scam, but how many will do that? It's akin to advertising a car as being capable of doing 200mph*.

* - when towed by a rocket powered dragster.

Yes you could buy a rocket powered dragster, or in the iPad's case, travel to America to use it, but in reality that's never going to happen.

Well if there is no 4G in the UK I'd be curious to know how many Brits are buying the iPad thinking/assuming 4G connectivity. I'd only call it a scam if the UK had 4G but Apple's hardware didn't support it. But as long as Apple has a disclaimer saying 4G only works in USA and Canada or whatever I don't know how it can be considered a scam.
post #16 of 198
I'm from the UK, if you go to the UK Apple site it advertises that the iPad is 4G even though the UK doesn't have 4G.

Is there anywhere else in the world apart from the USA that has the iPad's 4G compatibility? It seems like barely anywhere, which they must have researched and if so, why add something that isn't as universal as the rest of it's features? Or at least why advertise something to the countries something that isn't compatible and won't ever be compatible in their country?
post #17 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Yes it can do 4G in Australia, because Telstra has HSPA+.
4G != LTE.
4G is really just a very poorly defined marketing term.

4G is taken to mean LTE in Australia. I have never seen HSPA+ referred to as 4G. In fact, here's a ZDNET headline:

"Vodafone goes HSPA+ before 4G launch - News - ZDNet Australia"

http://www.zdnet.com.au/vodafone-goe...-339332404.htm and that was only three weeks ago.

Telstra themselves have never referred to HSPA+ as 4G, either.

Even Apple themselves describe 4G as LTE.

So which is it?
post #18 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

It's advertised as "WiFi + 4G" here in the UK even though we don't have any 4G networks. The AppleStore couldn't even guarantee that it would work with UK 4G networks when they launch sometime next year.

Maybe they should have launched 3 models instead of 2: WiFi, 3G and 4G. Then just release the 4G model in countries as and when they launch their 4G networks to make sure the iPad 4G is compatible.

Are there really that many British consumers who are ignorant about the UK not having 4G networks? My AT&T iPhone 4S says 4G in the status bar but I know it's not really 4G. I'm not about to sue Apple or AT&T for false advertising. Waste of time and resources.
post #19 of 198
It's 4G compatible - the device is sold as being 4G compatible worldwide, and it is. Not Apple's fault if local carriers aren't. This is utter nonsense. There is no '-gate' for the iPad - the battery is great, the temperature is fine, the device work as advertised.

Why are people so determined to create a scandal where none exists?
post #20 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo2k2k View Post

I'm from the UK, if you go to the UK Apple site it advertises that the iPad is 4G even though the UK doesn't have 4G.

Is there anywhere else in the world apart from the USA that has the iPad's 4G compatibility? It seems like barely anywhere, which they must have researched and if so, why add something that isn't as universal as the rest of it's features? Or at least why advertise something to the countries something that isn't compatible and won't ever be compatible in their country?

Because 4G is coming on line and being developed now. Normally people complain when 'x' technology isn't included, even though it's not been globally adopted as a standard. This time Apple are ahead of the game. No complaint to be had here. It's not even hidden in the small print- it states clearly that you can connect to 4G where 4G is available. Apple makes no claim about the availability of 4G locally.
post #21 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by mavis View Post

I have to say, I think this is great. The fact that Apple calls it the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model is misleading, as the iPad is not capable of using 4G here in Japan. It may not matter to those of you in the States, but everywhere else in the world, it matters.

The point is that the device is capable of 4G - that is the claim made, that is the product sold. It works just fine on 3G and on your local wi-fi. If you were to travel to a 4G area, you would get 4G - that is the claim made by the product, and the claim is true.
post #22 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Are there really that many British consumers who are ignorant about the UK not having 4G networks? My AT&T iPhone 4S says 4G in the status bar but I know it's not really 4G. I'm not about to sue Apple or AT&T for false advertising. Waste of time and resources.

I'd bet the vast vast majority of British consumers have no idea what a 4G network is let alone whether they have access to one. It's definitely misleading and Apple should just continue to sell the iPad in such countries as Wifi + 3G until any 4G capability can be utilised.

Quote:
Because 4G is coming on line and being developed now. Normally people complain when 'x' technology isn't included, even though it's not been globally adopted as a standard. This time Apple are ahead of the game. No complaint to be had here. It's not even hidden in the small print- it states clearly that you can connect to 4G where 4G is available. Apple makes no claim about the availability of 4G locally.

I think Apple should only use 4G as a headline feature in areas where that capability is actually available now. When I see a product advertised I don't expect to see something i can't actually use in the place where I live trumpeted as a major feature of the product. The iPad should really be sold as 3G with a disclaimer at the bottom that it can be utilised on 4G networks in the US rather than the other way around.
post #23 of 198
The biggest single budget item of the current Australian federal government is a fibre broadband network, and the opposition claimed outside of metropolitan areas it'd be cheaper to use 4G wireless due to Australia's sparse population. The governments largely unchallenged retort is that 4G is unproven and doesn't exist anywhere in the world yet. To help ensure that they've ensured that the systems deployed in Australia are incompatible with the ones already in widespread use elsewhere.

So some other hardware manufacturer has kowtowed to the Australian Governments insistence that everything in OZ has to be incompatible, and they (probably rightly) feel miffed that Apple are able to say they have a 4G device without all that expense. (Yes yes I know OZ probably are not the only ones planning on using the 1800MHz band.)

I think it'd be good for consumers to start to realise the expense (lack of productivity) that their government is constantly hoisting upon them whilst also claiming that employees/public servants/companies need to become more productive.

Bottom line though - anyone who is not happy with their 'new ipad' are welcome to a refund last time I checked, so I can't see what further financial penalties the ACCC are hoping for.

Alternatively Apple can find/fund a small startup telco (eg: as vivid have done with WiMAX) to set up a single base station someplace on a compatible frequency in each major city.

No this is all about getting that 4G removed from the advertising, so the good Australian people don't realise that 4G networks elsewhere in the world are well developed and standardised already. And so some other manufacturer can reap the rewards of kowtowing.
post #24 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

I'd bet the vast vast majority of British consumers have no idea what a 4G network is let alone whether they have access to one. It's definitely misleading and Apple should just continue to sell the iPad in such countries as Wifi + 3G until any 4G capability can be utilised.

well if they don't know what 4G is my guess is they probably don't know much about 3G either and all they care about is being able to use it when wi-fi is not available. And the ones that are tech savy and do know about such things I'm sure are well aware there is no 4G network in the UK.
post #25 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

4G is taken to mean LTE in Australia. I have never seen HSPA+ referred to as 4G. In fact, here's a ZDNET headline:

"Vodafone goes HSPA+ before 4G launch - News - ZDNet Australia"

http://www.zdnet.com.au/vodafone-goe...-339332404.htm and that was only three weeks ago.

Telstra themselves have never referred to HSPA+ as 4G, either.

Even Apple themselves describe 4G as LTE.

So which is it?

Well it's the International Telecommunications Union that has the final word on what these terms mean. They initially defined 4G to be anything that gives 1Gbit/s while standing still and 100Mbit/s while moving quickly (e.g. in a car). But even LTE didn't measure up to that, so they loosened the term to include technologies that used to be called 3.5G, such as HSPA+. All this sordid history is on the Wikipedia 4G page, and the HSPA+ page says "Currently both HSPA+ and LTE are termed as 4G technologies by the industry."

So Apple could argue in court that they are technically correct.
post #26 of 198
Okay, it notes on the Apple Australia website, "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. See your carrier for details."

http://www.apple.com/au/ipad/compare/
post #27 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

The point is that the device is capable of 4G - that is the claim made, that is the product sold. It works just fine on 3G and on your local wi-fi. If you were to travel to a 4G area, you would get 4G - that is the claim made by the product, and the claim is true.

That would hold true if Australia didn't have a 4G network. The problem is that Australia has a 4G network that works fine with many 4G phones and computers. The iPad only works on 4G in North America, and not on any of the 4G networks around the world. I believe it is good that Apple is being told that this is not good enough.
post #28 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

It's 4G compatible - the device is sold as being 4G compatible worldwide, and it is.

Not compatible with Aussie 4G, or Japan's Softbank 4G, nor many other countries 4G either so I don't know why you think consumer's in those countries should see it as 4G compatible.

If Apple plainly stated that 4G service compatibility isn't available in Australia on the Australian Apple site, or not compatible with 4G in Japan on the Japanese Apple store site, then I don't see any big deal. That's not what they do. Instead thy say 4G is available in the US and Canada when roaming here, and it will still work on HESPA networks worldwide.

"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."

But not a plain statement on the Australian site that it won't work on 4G in Australia. Why? IMO if Apple didn't intentionally hope that some buyers might not be clear on the capabilities they would have made the simple statement that 4G is not available in Australia rather than saying where it is available when traveling.
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post #29 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

well if they don't know what 4G is my guess is they probably don't know much about 3G either and all they care about is being able to use it when wi-fi is not available. And the ones that are tech savy and do know about such things I'm sure are well aware there is no 4G network in the UK.

I don't think that excuses Apple from advertising a feature that cant be used in the uk.
post #30 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

Okay, it notes on the Apple Australia website, "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. See your carrier for details."

http://www.apple.com/au/ipad/compare/

Where does it say 4G won't work in Australia on the page where customers order their Australian iPad 4G?

http://store.apple.com/au/browse/hom...ad/select_ipad
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post #31 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Where does it say 4G won't work in Australia on the page where customers order their Australian iPad 4G?

http://store.apple.com/au/browse/hom...ad/select_ipad

It states on the website you posted, "4G coverage is not available in all areas and varies by carrier. See your carrier for details." Says the same on the UK website.
post #32 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

This is a BS lawsuit, because look at the sticker ifixit found on their Australian iPad 3 (half way down the page)
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad-...eardown/8277/1

It clearly states that it will only run at 3G speeds.

Mine didn't have that sticker. But that's kinda beside the point.

Apple's marketing of the new iPad in countries that didn't support the iPad 4G/LTE frequencies, I think, is/was questionable and honestly a bit out of character for Apple. Looking at the Australian site now, the 4G and LTE are no longer featured (apart from the name).
The question we have to ask is "is it legitimate for Apple to call the new iPad "4G" if the hardware supports the technology even though it can't be used in the market it is being sold in?". What does 4G mean to the average consumer? Being able to reach "4G" speeds or actually being able to connect to a network that is being marketed by a carrier as 4G/LTE?
It's all a bit of a mess really.
post #33 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

It states on the website you posted, "4G coverage is not available in all areas and varies by carrier. See your carrier for details." Says the same on the UK website.

Since the site is for Australian buyers why wouldn't they just say 4G services aren't available for Australia? I think you probably understand why they don't come right out and say it. More are sold if some buyers expect it to work with Australia's 4G networks.

So they find out no when they go to activate it after paying and receiving their new iPad from Apple? Not Apple's problem according to you?
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post #34 of 198
Also, if you're not happy with the 3G/4G or whatever speed you're getting, how about returning it? In Australia, I believe you have 14 days to return for a refund.
post #35 of 198
See that "2" footnote reference in the picture on the Apple website?

This is what it refers to:-

"4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details."

Hey ACCC, us Aussies aren't as f*%$ing stupid as you are trying to make out, stop wasting MY tax dollars.
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post #36 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Did they or anyone of the FUD'rs bother to read the ad copy or the reference, i.e., '2', at the bottom of the page which states,
Quote:
Quote:
"4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details."


I see you beat me to it Hill60.
post #37 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

See that "2" footnote reference in the picture on the Apple website?

This is what it refers to:-

"4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details."

Hey ACCC, us Aussies aren't as f*%$ing stupid as you are trying to make out, stop wasting MY tax dollars.

Hill60, why is it a footnote, intended as a technical clarification? Do you really honestly believe that a footnote is proper notice considering the site is only for Australian buyers of iPad's intended for use in Australia?

A plain and simple "4G services are not available for Apple's iPad 4G in Australia" right above the selection box for iPad wi-fi with 4G would be more appropriate wouldn't it, assuming Apple didn't actually intend for there to be some confusion? I'm interested in your answer.
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post #38 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Since the site is for Australian buyers why wouldn't they just say 4G services aren't available for Australia? I think you probably understand why they don't come right out and say it. More are sold if some buyers expect it to work with Australia's 4G networks. So they find out no when they go to activate it after paying and receiving their new iPad from Apple? Not Apple's problem according to you?

Well it specifically states on the page I perviously quoted that 4G is only available in the US and Canada. So I guess the issue comes down to word-smithing and it should say 4G is not available in Australia. Even so, if you bought the iPad in Australia (did you?), you can return it within 14 day if you're not satisfied with the speed, advertising, or any other issue you have with it.
post #39 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Yes it can do 4G in Australia, because Telstra has HSPA+.
4G != LTE.
4G is really just a very poorly defined marketing term.

Telstra also has 4G (within 5km of capital city centres), but that doesn't stop them advertising it Australia wide.

Optus and Vodafone are preparing to roll out 4G networks trials have been done, it is unknown whether these networks will be compatible at this stage.

All three major networks currently have HSPA+ networks, running at various speeds.
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post #40 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by mavis View Post

I have to say, I think this is great. The fact that Apple calls it the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model is misleading, as the iPad is not capable of using 4G here in Japan. It may not matter to those of you in the States, but everywhere else in the world, it matters.

When I bought mine I mentioned that to the shop. Signing the contract, there is a check point that says you understand that the 4G model only functions as a 3G model in Japan.

Just checked Apple Japan... The device itself is 4G (LTE) capable. (but Japan uses different frequencies...)

-----
Wi-Fi(802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0テクノロジー
Wi-Fi + 4Gモデル:4G LTE(700、2,100MHz)3、UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA(850、900、1,900、2,100MHz)、GSM/EDGE(850、900、1,800、1,900MHz)
データのみ4
-----

In very fine print at the bottom of the Wi-Fi +3G model info page you do have the warning only in the US or wherever.


The problem is the carriers AU and Softbank; they don't have 4G systems ready yet. If I recall, a while back someone explained updates and suggested that they can sell a device with a feature list and make features come available, but to add features after it is sold is difficult.

So, if I understand this correctly, if Softbank or AU suddenly installs and makes operational a 4G system, then the only problem would be the contract (which I highly doubt they would create a customer-friendly upgrade plan for).

Dunno. Maybe somebody can explain this better.

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

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