The standing issue between Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has renewed itself with Apple filing a defense in Australia’s federal courts this week.
Apple claims that the branding of the “Wi-Fi + 4G” iPad in Australia is technically correct despite the lack of compatibility between the new device and Australia’s existing 4G networks.
The Australian, a newspaper published daily nationwide in Australia, reports that the company (Apple) has denied the accusations from the ACCC stating that it never marketed the device as being compatible with Australia’s 4G networks.
This statement on behalf of Apple is in response to the ACCC. The Australian regulator wants Apple to change the name of the 4G LTE iPad after the branding of the device as “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G” misled customers to believe that the new iPad could run on and access any 4G LTE network in Australia.
After the lawsuit was filed, Apple was quick to update their Australian Apple Store to clarify that the new iPad is not compatible with Australian 4G LTE networks nor WiMAX networks. As an extended measure, they sent out emails to their Australian customers and offered them a full refund given they were unsatisfied or felt “misled”.
Proceeding the attempt to make amends with its customer base, Apple has defended itself against the ACCC’s claims.
Apple’s argument calls out the semantics surrounding “4G” and claims that Australia’s networks are mislabeled, not the iPad. The existing 3G networks operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone can be called “4G networks in accordance with accepted industry and regulatory use of the descriptor ‘4G,” Apple said.
Apple also mentioned that the descriptor ‘4G’ attached onto the end of the third-generation iPad’s name is simply there to convey the device’s superior data speeds rather than to denote that the iPad is compatible with any of the numerous network providers’ 4G networks in Australia.
Carriers and regulatory bodies like International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are partly to blame for the confusion. As AppleInsider points out:
With the debut of the WiMax and LTE standards, both of which have the possibility of being 4G technologies though currently don’t reach speeds anywhere near 100Mbit/s, saw carriers worldwide begin to call their networks “4G” in a bid to lure customers. Making the situation more confusing was the ITU-R’s 2010 announcement that WiMax, LTE and other post-3G technology can be marketed as 4G as long as its upgrade path can one day meet the defined speeds.
It looks like Apple won’t go down without a fight, made evident both by the above as well as the editorial that accompanied Tim Cook’s page on TIME magazine’s list of the most influential people of 2012 where he was stated to be “tough as nails when necessary”.
We’ll keep you updated, of course, with any further developments in the case. The court hearing is expected in May.