Australian iPad Incident Costs Apple $2.29 Million
An Australian federal court judge Thursday ordered Apple to pay a $2.29 million fine for potentially misleading consumers over the 4G capabilities of its new iPad tablet. Judge Mordecai Bromberg found that Apple deceived Australian consumers by claiming in its advertising that the “iPad with WiFi + 4G” could connect with 4G cellular networks in Australia, despite its incompatibility with the country’s sole 4G network.
Apple earlier this year agreed to offer refunds to Australians who purchased the device with the expectation of 4G connectivity, and adjusted its marketing to clarify that it does not support Australia’s 4G LTE network. But Bromberg said that is simply not remedy enough.
“I have no doubt that given the promotion by Telstra of the superiority of its 4G network, many purchasers will have felt decidedly short-changed, despite the fact that only a very small percentage of them took up the opportunity of a refund, offered by Apple on 28 March 2012 as part of the undertakings given to the Court,” Bromberg said in his order. “Beyond that, all that I am able to do on the evidence before me, is recognise that the wide-ranging reach of the conduct is likely to have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of consumers being exposed to Apple’s misleading use of the term ‘4G.’”
Reached for comment, Apple didn’t directly address the fine or Bromberg’s order, but it did concede that the iPad’s original branding needed an update to address differences in wireless terminology around the world.
“The new iPad supports many high speed networks around the world, including LTE in the U.S. and Canada and HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA in many countries,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD. “Carriers do not all refer to their high-speed networks with the same terminology, therefore we’ve decided to use ‘Wi-Fi + Cellular’ as a simple term which describes all the high speed networks supported by the new iPad. The advanced wireless features of the new iPad have not changed.”