You may recall that back in March, not long after the new iPad hit stores around the world, Apple found themselves in a spot of trouble in companies like Australia, where their branding of the iPad as a 4G-capable device was seen as false advertising. You see, one of Australia’s mobile carriers does have a 4G LTE network, but the new iPad happens not to be compatible with it, a fact that Apple wasn’t troubling itself to make terribly clear to Australian consumers.
Apple initially began issuing refunds to Australian consumers who felt they’d been misled. At the same time they entered talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about rebranding the iPad. Despite Apple taking some steps to make the incompatibility more clear, Apple declined to stop calling it the “iPad 4G” in Australia and other countries with incompatible 4G networks, and the talks broke down.
Now, Apple has officially rebranded the iPad in its online stores. Here’s a screenshot of the iPad selection screen from Apple’s online store in Australia:
But that’s not all. Apple didn’t only make the change in countries where the 4G branding had gotten them in trouble – e.g., Australia, Britain, and Sweden. In fact, they appear to have made the change virtually everywhere. Here in the U.S., not only was the 4G branding not a problem, it was one of the main selling points. All the same, check out the same selection screen from the U.S. Apple store:
So it looks like Apple has decided to be a little extra careful with the new iPad’s branding. It makes sense, really. For one thing, the iPad is only compatible with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada. For another thing, even those networks do not cover the entire country. That means that a huge portion of those who buy the new iPad, even in the U.S. and Canada, are not going to be able to make use of its 4G capabilities. They will have to just keep settling for their local carriers’ 3G networks. That being the case, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to brand the iPad based on its compatibility with a network the majority of its owners will not be able to use.