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Apple Gives In, Drops iPad '4G' Tag To Avoid Lawsuits 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the raging-over-letter-and-numbers dept.
Back in March, Apple was sued in Australia and criticized in Europe over its marketing of the iPad as supporting 4G speeds when it only did so in the U.S. and Canada. Now, reader TheGift73 writes with news that Apple has given in and changed the 'Wi-Fi + 4G' label to 'Wi-Fi + Cellular.' From the article: "In the U.K., a number of complaints by customers pushed the ASA into acting against Apple for its misleading advertisements. The regulator had received 'dozens of complaints' from customers, and had pushed for Apple to remove any mentions of '4G' from its websites. It should come as little surprise considering Britain has yet to see its mobile networks divide up its 4G spectrum without bickering furiously about it. Some networks had even opted to avoid litigation directed at them by including stickers to inform potential buyers that the new iPad will not work on existing 4G networks, or even 4G networks that don't even exist yet. This should come as bittersweet news for consumers. Apple has already sold millions of iPads across the U.K., Europe and Australia, while the vast majority are unaware that they will not be able to connect to high-speed mobile broadband networks."
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Apple Gives In, Drops iPad '4G' Tag To Avoid Lawsuits

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  • This just in. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:17PM (#39983013)
    Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that their mobile networks, internet access, and communications facilities are all crap compared to the rest of the world. Just wait until they find out that a farmer in rural China can get better cell phone service and a cheaper plan than they can in one of the large US cities...
    • Re:This just in. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tough Love (215404) on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:33PM (#39983087)

      Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that their mobile networks, internet access, and communications facilities are all crap compared to the rest of the world.

      You would think so, wouldn't you? But think about this: not even 30% of Americans have passports. Very few Americans even know that their sim cards won't work outside the country. If they find out they typically don't care.

      And you forgot, America is paradise. The home of everything that is good and beautiful about technology and consumer gadgets. America is the land of the free. You just have it all wrong, bad you.

      • What sim card?

        Most of the phones here are hard-coded to only work on a single carriers network, whose support line you have to call in order to switch to a new handset.

      • by Lisias (447563)

        And you forgot, America is paradise. The home of everything that is good and beautiful about technology and consumer gadgets. America is the land of the free. You just have it all wrong, bad you.

        You're holding it the wrong way!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2012 @11:37PM (#39983099)

      Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that their mobile networks, internet access, and communications facilities are all crap compared to the rest of the world. Just wait until they find out that a farmer in rural China can get better cell phone service and a cheaper plan than they can in one of the large US cities...

      So... this is a story about an arrogant US media electronics company being sued by Australians and Europeans because they label a gadget as "4G" in said markets despite not being compatible with those networks... aaaaaaaand somehow this makes Americans "wake up" to the fact that cell service is better in other countries... and something something rural China, USA baaaaad [grunt noise here] just for good measure?

      Yeah. That's fully coherent. We'll... we'll go with that and give it all the concern it merits.

      What were you talking about again? I forgot.

      • by catmistake (814204) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @03:22AM (#39983907) Journal

        this is a story about an arrogant US media electronics company being sued by Australians and Europeans because they label a gadget as "4G" in said markets despite not being compatible with those networks

        I think I remember a similar story involving an American that sued Porsche, which claimed their 959 model as the fastest street car made. He sued for false advertising because when he had it shipped and it finally arrived in the US, it wasn't deemed street-legal because the bumpers were too low to the ground, and the national speed limit at the time was 55MPH... so not only couldn't he drive it on the street, it could only go as fast as every other car. Bad Porsche marketing jerks!

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Just wait until they find out that a farmer in rural China can get better cell phone service and a cheaper plan than they can in one of the large US cities...

      Take a land area about the size of the US. Now cram in a billion or so additional subscribers. Now grant a monopoly on spectrum to two state-owned telecommunications companies, and let them put towers anywhere they please.

      But otherwise the countries are ridiculously similar markets.

      • Re:This just in. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by risom (1400035) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @02:28AM (#39983663) Homepage
        I take your population density argument and give you norway: 80mbit for about 60 Euros a month [netcom.no] :)

        (Norway has one third of the population density of the US [wikipedia.org]).
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          (Norway has one third of the population density of the US).

          Virtually all of Norway's citizens live in population centers. We have several times your entire population living in shitty little towns where AT&T owns all the fiber for the simple reason that no one else would bother to run anything to them but Ma Bell.

          • (Norway has one third of the population density of the US).

            Virtually all of Norway's citizens live in population centers. We have several times your entire population living in shitty little towns where AT&T owns all the fiber for the simple reason that no one else would bother to run anything to them but Ma Bell.

            That must be the reason why Norway has such bad mobile coverage [telenor.no].</sarcasm>
            And broadband isn't limited to population centers either: With a landline (available in every corner
            of the country), you can get DSL everywhere, and VDSL in lots of places, including tiny villages.

            And don't make me bring up Finland. There, you get 3G coverage on rural lakes [sonera.fi] .

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          My argument wasn't "population density". It was that the two markets are not even comparable. Only one of the reasons was population density.

          The government also owns whatever they say they own (including the phone companies) and can put towers in without any limitations at all. In the US, the individual mobile operators must bid for frequency, construct their network not to interfere with any other channels, acquire tower space somehow, link the towers into their network somehow, etc. It's much more ad hoc.

    • by jaymz666 (34050)

      and better food...

    • This is about Australia, not America.

      Now price aside (my employer pays for my phone so I dunno what it costs), I get pretty badass wireless speeds in America. I have a 4G phone and it works great. Get about 20-25mbps on speed tests. That'll probably drop as more people get 4G phones but still, that is cable modem kind of speeds on the cell network.

      This isn't a theoretical speed, this is in actual testing. 4G service is being rolled out nicely in the US, by Verizon at least.

    • Well, basically, America is the Marketing Department for China Inc. So obviously America is best and everthing else is bad. That is how marketing works.
    • Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that their mobile networks, internet access, and communications facilities are all crap compared to the rest of the world.

      I can't speak for Asia, but European networks use standardized technology and the markets are regulated. That's government intervention, which is the same as commienizerm. Commienizerm makes baby Jebus weep.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      4G is rather better than existing 3G networks for mobile internet. But (and TBH this is something that astonishes me) this is one of the few places where the US is ahead of the curve. Many other countries have only just auctioned the spectrum space for 4G networks; they're a long way off having actual live 4G networks.

  • AT&T has no LTE footprint at all here in Oregon. Yet Apple can still sell the iPad LTE here and call it that. Why? Because if/when AT&T finally brings LTE here, the device will work on it.

    I get the whole "consumers walking out of the store thinking they have LTE service" thing. Seems like the simple solution is just to call it an "LTE Ready" device. You've got the LTE modem, and you're ready for the service.

  • I know this is supposed to be an "Apple is evil" issue but imagine with all the standards trying to roll out a worldwide product? Is it an attempt to deceive or that support to local networks is lagging behind? Is it a matter of time or an issue that can't be corrected with the current product? There are simply too many standards to expect everyone to support every standard or local system. The advertising department is at fault for boasting of local support that doesn't exist but it's hard to say how inten
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      The advertising department is at fault for boasting of local support that doesn't exist but it's hard to say how intentional it was for the parent company.

      The advertising department doesn't design the product packaging. The advertising dropped the inaccurate "4G" label weeks ago. This news refers to a change to the product name. That's clearly a decision from the parent.

      All of this information was available from TFA!

    • by VON-MAN (621853)
      "I know this is supposed to be an "Apple is evil" issue"
      HUH???? I thought it was an interesting story about a marketing mistake. And even more interesting is that Apple (=King of Marketing) can make mistakes like that.

      The advertising department is at fault for boasting of local support that doesn't exist but it's hard to say how intentional it was for the parent company.
      Are you trying to suggest that the rest of Apple doesn't know what the advertising department is doing? Nonsense, it was a stupid mista
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      It isn't that the networks are lagging behind, it is that they will never ever support 4G on the iPad because we are not going to use LTE on the same frequencies as the US. Even once we have 4G it won't work, the iPad doesn't have the right technology.

      They have to tailor their advertising and packaging to the local market anyway. Local language, local laws, local partnerships with mobile service providers and shops, local regulations and so forth. Complying with our law is the minimum we expect.

  • Now if only they'd get rid of the fake "4G" tag the iPhone 4S has on AT&T. It's barely faster than the "3G" on the iPhone 4, and isn't real "4G" by any means.

    • by samkass (174571) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @01:17AM (#39983419) Homepage Journal

      Now if only they'd get rid of the fake "4G" tag the iPhone 4S has on AT&T. It's barely faster than the "3G" on the iPhone 4, and isn't real "4G" by any means.

      Except that it's 4-5x times faster than the "3G" on the Verizon network, so while it's not as fast as LTE it does seem like there's some room for calling it something other than what Verizon called their dog-slow pre-LTE "3G" network. This wasn't Apple's call, anyway... AT&T's HSPA+ network has the "official" 4G designation so it's as "4G" as anything. You'll have to look specifically for "LTE" if you want that speed.

  • "Apple has already sold millions of iPads across the U.K., Europe and Australia, while the vast majority are unaware that they will not be able to connect to high-speed mobile broadband networks."

    Have any citation for the bald assertion that the vast majority of iPad owners don't know their iPad won't be able to connect to high-speed mobile broadband networks?

  • I know that this change must have been excruciating for Apple to do, as being seen to listen to their customers must rub them the wrong way.

    But for this I congratulate Apple for this historic event. It was excruciatingly hard, but it was needed.

    *claps*

  • unless it is profitable and stands a chance in court.

    And this one does not: you could not sell a phone "with charger" either, if the charger is for the wrong voltage. What ever happened to common sense?

    • by dadioflex (854298)
      It was Google that said they didn't want to do evil. But nobody wants to do evil. You think the Nazis unfurled the blueprint for Dachau and looked at each other with guilty expressions, until one summoned the courage to ask: "This is pretty evil, right?" No. No, they did not. They thought they were doing the right thing and that God and history would bathe them in glory.

      How'd that work out for you Nazis?

      Yeah, exactly.

      Corporations, certainly in the US, are obliged to follow profit and enhance share-
      • by thsths (31372)

        > These are the constraints we put upon capitalism, and they are legal boundaries not ethical ones.

        Exactly, like not lying to the customer. In the EU that is pretty well enshrined, whereas in the US you seem to get away with it as long as you call it "marketing". Well, not so in the EU.

        So the question is: why does Apple keep getting into legal trouble in the EU? For my taste (and I would hope the investors taste, too) they are playing way too close to the line. You want to be well on the legal side of th

  • Much like HD televisions, the majority of which until quite recently were never used with HD media even when it was available, 4G seems like something that a purchaser either knows what it is at a technical level or they are blissfully unaware of it. Anyone with the interest to know what 4G is, knows that buying an iPad won't make it magically become available. There were plenty of technologically averse people (Apple customers I likes to call'em) swanning about the place, mentally gloating that their iPad
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Much like HD televisions, the majority of which until quite recently were never used with HD media even when it was available, 4G seems like something that a purchaser either knows what it is at a technical level or they are blissfully unaware of it.

      Well, there was a bit of a fuss when TVs started to be sold as "HD Ready" (Example 1 [asa.org.uk] Example 2 [which.co.uk] - I'm sure there are more where those came from.)

      Meanwhile, like many people, I bought a TV with an integrated terrestrial HD tuner about a year before HD broadcasts were due to start in my area. When my local transmitter switched, lo and behold I got HD. I didn't get some excuse along the lines of "well, when we said HD, we didn't mean the sort of HD that was coming in your area."

      Likewise, there is much talk

  • http://mashable.com/2011/07/14/4g-confusion-study/ [mashable.com] 34% of iPhone Users Think They Have 4G [STUDY] July 14, 2011 by Charlie White

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon

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