Official Complaints Over '4G' Marketing of New iPad Taking Hold in Europe

Yesterday, we noted that Australian regulators are targeting Apple over its "misleading" marketing of the new iPad as a "4G" device in the country despite the fact that the device is incompatible with LTE networks being rolled out there. In response, Apple has offered refunds to customers who feel they were misled by the marketing.


Concerns over the 4G marketing are now getting the attention of regulators in several European countries as well, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the Swedish Consumer Agency is also considering launching an investigation into the matter.

Marek Andersson, a lawyer at the authority whose task is to safeguard consumer interests in Sweden, said the consumer agency has received several complaints from consumers over marketing which touts the new iPad as having 4G connectivity. [...]

“One may rightfully ask if the marketing of the new iPad is misleading,” Mr. Andersson said. While iPad is equipped with 4G connectivity, it will only work in the U.S. and Canada.

“The question is whether this information is clear enough in Apple’s marketing,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pocket-lint reports that a similar situation is playing out in the United Kingdom, where the Advertising Standards Authority is also fielding complaints from customers about the issue.

“We are aware of the news from Australia regarding the iPad 4G marketing claim,” an ASA spokeswoman told us. “Without going through due process we can't say whether the (UK) ad is likely to be problematic. If anyone has concerns about the iPad ad then they can lodge a complaint with us and we will establish whether or not there is a problem under the Code.”

The UK has strict regulation of advertising claims, and Apple's marketing has been the subject of several decisions from the ASA. In 2008, the agency banned an iPhone ad over misleading claims, while a more recent decision regarding claims of the world's thinnest smartphone came down in Apple's favor. The ASA also ruled in Apple's favor last month in a dispute over advertising for Siri on the iPhone 4S.

Related Roundup: iPad
Tag: Europe
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
109 months ago
I actually think if Apple are using the 4G capability of the new iPad to be a major part of their marketing strategy in countries that do not have 4G infrastructure in place then it's a fair point to bring them to task on this. It is somewhat dishonest to prominently highlight a feature that is incompatible / unavailable in a territory.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago

every other company does the same thing.


Citation needed.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago
Nobody seems to have really understood the problem here..

It's not that these countries don't have 4G networks or whether or not Apple call it 4G for marketing reasons (as said above, everybody does).

The problem is that these countries HAVE 4G networks but don't work with the same frequencies that the US networks. The new iPad is only compatible with the US 4G frequencies.

They still sell it in other countries saying it's 4G, but even with a carrier with a 4G LTE network, it will not work.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago
We can expect the hammer to fall on Apple in the UK fairly shortly as well. I just received an email with the following text following my highlighting to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) of the ambiguity of Apple's Marketing:


"Dear Mr Flynn

Thank you for your recent complaint regarding. I am sorry to hear that this advert has caused you concern.

You may be interested to know that we have received a number of complaints about this ad for the reasons you describe. I will add your complaint to our file, and you can expect to hear from a member of our Investigations team in due course.

In the meantime I would like to thank you for your patience and for bringing this to our attention."


Before anybody jumps on my back, nobody is suing anybody, there are just many of us over in Europe and elsewhere (ie. anywhere that is not in North America) who take serious issue with something being advertised as "Wi-Fi + 4G" when the device concerned will NEVER support the frequency bandings that we as a region (in my case, the EU) have chosen as our standard for LTE (800/2600MHz). I don't care that the 3G capability is "almost as fast" as North American 4G, the EU and Ofcom in the UK define 4G as: "WiMAX, WiMAX2, LTE and LTE-Advanced", and "The New iPad" doesn't support any of these in any of the regions in which it is being advertised as 4G outside North America.

I realise this will hardly affect sales, but at least it shows Apple can't just waltz around making up it's own rules as it goes along.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago

Even if Apple changes the name to just iPad Wifi+3G or Wifi+Data for Europe, everyone else in the world knows this as the 4G iPad.

Apple should just not mention 4G on the boxes shipped to Europe and take 4G off their European sites.

This is just so stupid. Europe is so far behind with 4G and LTE and has to use a different frequency. This is part apple's fault but Europe really needs to get with the program.


Exscuse me?

I think your find the US is the fault for the frequency fragmentation, all carriers in the EU use the same frequency bands, then the US started to launch GSM networks on weird wacky frequencies.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago

I actually think if Apple are using the 4G capability of the new iPad to be a major part of their marketing strategy in countries that do not have 4G infrastructure in place then it's a fair point to bring them to task on this. It is somewhat dishonest to prominently highlight a feature that is incompatible / unavailable in a territory.


European countries --DO-- have LTE infrastructure. It's just that the iPad is ONLY compatible with the LTE-infrastructure of the United States, but Apple's ads make you believe that the iPad will work with LTE ANYWHERE.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Apple Launches New Gift Card for 'Everything Apple'

Friday July 31, 2020 3:45 am PDT by
Apple has introduced a new single gift card in the U.S. for all things Apple. First spotted by iCulture, the card can be used at the App Store and other online services, but you can also use it to buy products and accessories in the Apple Store. Previously, there were two separate Apple gift cards available: iTunes cards, which can be used for App Store, iTunes Store, and iCloud storage...

Leaker Jon Prosser Claims iPhone 12 and New iPads Will Launch in October

Wednesday July 29, 2020 4:15 pm PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans, today said that new iPhone 12 models and new iPads will launch in October. Multiple rumors have suggested that some or all of the iPhone 12 models coming this year will see a later than normal launch. Apple typically unveils and releases new iPhones in the month of September, but problems...