Apple is preparing to offer refunds to Australian customers who purchased the new iPad in the belief that it would run on the 4G LTE networks run by Optus and Telstra in Australia. Apple retained the references to 4G connectivity in their Australian marketing for the new iPad despite the incompatibility. Customer complaints about the issue drew the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which asked Apple to remove references to 4G from its marketing.
According to the ACCC’s statement yesterday, they were in the process of seeking a court order to require Apple to change the “misleading” promotional statementts. In order to forestall legal action and placate angry customers, Apple announced today that they would begin emailing refunds to customers who felt they’d been misled, according to the ABC in Australia.. They also promised to alert new customers to the incompatibility at the time of sale. Though not compatible with Australian carriers’ 4G networks, the new iPad does work on their 3G data networks.
The two biggest updates to this year’s iPad are its new retina display and the ability to connect to 4G data networks. For would-be iPad buyers in most countries, though, the upgrade to 4G doesn’t do them any good. At present the new iPad is only compatible with the 4G networks of a handful of carriers in the US and Canada.
Australia isn’t the only country to have a problem with Apple’s emphasis on 4G in its marketing for the new iPad. There are reports from several countries today that Sweden and the UK are launching their own investigation into Apple’s marketing practices concerning the new iPad’s 4G capabilities.
It seems, then, that the moral of this story is pretty clear: if a flagship feature of your new product won’t work in certain places, you’d be best advised not to advertise that feature in those places. Because, shockingly, people have a problem with that.