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Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Accuses Apple Of Misleading Consumers On iPad

Australian Competition And Consumer Commission App

First Posted: 03/27/2012 3:07 am Updated: 03/27/2012 11:42 am


SYDNEY (Reuters) - Apple's hot-selling new iPad hit a hurdle in Australia on Tuesday as the country's consumer affairs regulator accused the company of misleading promotions.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would ask a federal court on Wednesday to order Apple to ensure consumers were made aware of the real technical capabilities of the device, correct its advertising and refund any affected buyers.

Apple's promotions for the iPad with Wifi+4G say buyers can connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia with a SIM card, but that is not the case, the regulator said in a statement.

An Apple spokeswoman in Sydney could not be reached immediately for comment.

Australia has only one 4G network from dominant telecoms firm Telstra but the network is on a different part of the communications spectrum that cannot connect to the iPad.

While the iPad is the clear market leader and the new version with its faster chips, fourth-generation wireless and a sharper display is only expected to cement Apple's lead, it has not been entirely smooth sailing for Apple.

It is waging a legal battle with a Chinese firm over the rights to the iPad trademark in one of the biggest growth markets.

The long-running dispute with Proview - a financially weak technology company that claims to have registered the trademark - is making its way through Chinese courts and has threatened to disrupt iPad sales.

In Australia, a small but a key launch market for Apple products, it lost a bid to ban the sales of Samsung Electronics Co Galaxy tablet late last year.

That battle is part of bruising global patent war between the two firms which spans about 30 legal cases in 10 countries.

The Australian regulator's move is unlikely to hamper iPad sales in Australia, though it could force to tweak its promotional campaigns.

(Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Check out the slideshow (below) to see reviewers' least favorite things about the new iPad.
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  • No FaceTime Over 4G

    The Verge's Dieter Bohn found a small but "vexing" problem <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2873026/new-ipad-facetime-lte" target="_hplink">while attempting to use FaceTime over the new iPad's 4G network.</a> "[A]ttempting to initiate a FaceTime call over LTE fails out with a message exhorting you to connect to a Wi-Fi network," he wrote. While it has always been true that FaceTime only worked on Wi-Fi and not over cellular networks, Bohn points out that this is especially annoying when you can turn your Verizon iPad into an LTE hotspot, which would allow you to FaceTime on other devices <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2873026/new-ipad-facetime-lte" target="_hplink">but not on the iPad acting as the hotspot.</a> <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">TechCrunch's MG Siegler echoes Bohn's complaint</a> about FaceTime being available only via Wi-Fi, "despite the fact that the LTE networks are so much faster (faster than my WiFi even), Apple says that FaceTime will still be WiFi-only for now."

  • HD Content Wows On The Retina Display, Non-HD Doesn't

    Reviewers found that enhanced apps and high-definition movies look amazing on the iPad's mind-blowing Retina display, but they noted with disappointment that non-HD content doesn't quite shine. According to Macworld, <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/1165849/review_the_third_generation_ipad.html" target="_hplink">un-enhanced apps look super pixelated on the Retina screen</a>: "Non-Retina apps look more or less like they did on previous iPads -- but on the new iPad's Retina display those pixels really stand out." While <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/technology/personaltech/the-new-ipad-is-much-the-same-only-better.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=technology" target="_hplink">the New York Time's David Pogue</a> calls the iPad "the world's first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition,</a>" he also notes that Netflix doesn't currently offer movies in high-def for the iPad, so many average consumers won't be able to enjoy all the new iPad's display has to offer.

  • Comparatively Weak Front-Facing Camera

    While The Verge's Joshua Topolsky praised the video and photo capabilities of the rear camera <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2870533/ipad-review" target="_hplink">he was less enthused about the front-facing module, writing:</a> <blockquote>Around front, you can expect the same basic quality of the last generation iPad -- which means it's nothing to write home about. It would have been nice to see at least a 720p shooter on the flip side of the tablet considering how hard Apple's been trying to push FaceTime, but you're stuck with VGA here.</blockquote>

  • No Siri

    Many were surprised that Apple's voice-activated assistant Siri wasn't one of the iPad's upgrades. A new dictation feature allows users to get around some of the problems that the device's virtual keyboard presents, but as Pogue writes for the Times, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/technology/personaltech/the-new-ipad-is-much-the-same-only-better.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&ref=technology" target="_hplink">that's as close to Siri that the new tablet users will get</a>. Users will have to pour one out for the rest of Siri's features, including "the ability to set alarms, send text messages, look up calendar appointments and snag facts from the Web just by asking out loud," Pogue lists. SlashGear also laments the absence of Siri, <a href="http://www.slashgear.com/new-ipad-review-3rd-gen-14218465/" target="_hplink">citing it as the biggest omission in the new iPad. </a>

  • Warm Corner

    It's a good indication of how much the reviewers are loving the iPad <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">when one of the main complaints in TechCrunch's review is about a corner of the iPad that heats up after prolonged use.</a> After praising the screen and the speed, MG Siegler seems almost embarrassed complaining about one corner heating up: <blockquote>One other slight downside which I have to assume is related to either the battery or the LTE functionality is that unlike previous iPad models, the new iPad does get noticeably warm in the lower left corner after prolonged use. It's never hot, just warm. But again, I never noticed this on other models.</blockquote>

  • Nice Stuff Takes Up Space

    <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/1165849/review_the_third_generation_ipad.html" target="_hplink">According to tests conducted by Macworld, </a>the enhanced apps consume up to three times as of the iPad's storage space as un-enhanced apps. MG Siegler worried in his review that the enhanced apps and high-definition movies, which "you'll obviously want" <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">will take up precious iPad storage space.</a> "On the iPad I'm testing out, I have three pages of apps, a few hundred photos, one HD movie, and one music album. It's really not that much stuff, but it takes up over 20 GB of storage. The apps alone are over 10 GB of that," he says.

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Filed by Catharine Smith  |