Apple said in court it will offer a refund to disappointed Australian buyers of the iPad 3, who believe they were misled by its lack of 4G connectivity.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the case to federal court, accusing Apple of violating Australian law, and threatening the company with massive fines or even a sales injunction.
The regulator sought "interlocutory relief", and wanted to make sure "customers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device".
Apple's lawyer Paul Anastassiou told the court that "4G" was not a legally protected term, and that the networks in Australia were equivalent to foreign 4G networks.
He added that Australia's 3G networks are actually 4G --- at least, in U.S. terms, but not by European standards --- and Telstra's definition was not the be-all and end-all.
But refunds will be made available to any customer not happy or feeling "misled" by the 4G advertisement, after the company promised to email customers to notify them that the tablet was incompatible with Telstra's 4G network.
It's not clear whether Apple's next move in this legal game of chess will satisfy the court or the ACCC.
All this over a warning sticker saying that the 4G won't work in Australia, it seems, which as discovered is put on there by Telstra, and not Apple.
The problem stems because the 4G LTE-enabled iPad 3 only works across two AT&T and Verizon in the United States. Even though the two 4G services are the same and operate in the same 700MHz band, the two networks require different hardware, which forced Apple to create an iPad for each network.
Outside of North America, however, 4G LTE just won’t work, even those on compatible bands of 700MHz or 2100MHz.
For example, in the UK, the 700MHz band is reserved for free-to-air digital television, causingsomewhat of a panic amongst British telly watchers. In Australia, the 4G services operate on an 1800Mhz band.
Interestingly, according to the Australian regulator, it warned Apple before the tablet went on sale in the country, reports News.com.au. "They knew it wouldn't connect," ACCC barrister Colin Golvan SC said.
An Apple spokesperson was still unavailable for comment.
The case continues.
Image source: iFixit.
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