Apple selling the new iPad in Australia with the label "4G" has caught the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is taking Apple to court.
Although Apple labels the iPad as 4G, it doesn't work on Australia's lone 4G network from Telstra.
Apple designed the iPad to work on long-term evolution (LTE) networks in the US operating in the 700MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands, while Australia's LTE networks operate in the 1800MHz band. This means Australians will miss out and will have to survive on 3G speeds.
Apple has argued in court that the press did a decent job of pointing out to customers that the iPad wouldn't work on 4G networks here, but nonetheless has offered to write letters to all customers who bought the iPad to let them know that.
JB Hi-Fi has posters telling customers that the iPad isn't LTE compatible in Australia, and Telstra said it is letting customers know at the point of purchase that it's not compatible with its 4G network. And now Apple will do the same.
The case will raise interesting questions for the definition of 4G. We've previously reported that 4G hasn't actually been defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) yet, but telcos around the world are marketing their various LTE, WiMax or even HSPA+ networks as being "4G".
In court yesterday, Apple argued that our HSPA+ networks are what is referred to as being "4G" in the US, but Apple nevertheless committed to informing customers that the new iPad wouldn't work on our "4G" networks.
The full case is scheduled to be heard in May.
Whether the iPad works on LTE or not may not be that big a deal, in any case. Our sister site CNET has done a global speed test of the new iPad in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, and Telstra didn't do too badly up against the US's LTE.
Do you think Apple was misleading in branding the iPad as "4G" or is the ACCC barking up the wrong tree?