When Apple launched the new iPad, it predictably advertised that the higher-priced version of the device was “4G capable.” It did this even in countries where the 4G capabilities of the device could not be used due to incompatible data networks within those countries. That brought the ire of consumer protection agencies in several countries, including Sweden and Australia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was especially forceful in asserting that Apple knew it was misleading Australian consumers by advertising the iPad as 4G capable in the country, and the group filed a lawsuit. Though Apple responded quickly with refunds for all customers in Australia who felt they had been mislead, it wasn’t enough for the ACCC and the court case continued. Around one month ago, Apple changed the branding for the 4G version of the iPad to “Wi-Fi + Cellular.”
Today, a settlement has been reached between Apple and the ACCC. The Australian is reporting that Apple will pay $2.25 million to the ACCC and cover $300,000 of its legal costs. Apple has now admitted that its advertising could have been misleading to the Australian public.
According to The Australian, Apple had tried to argue during the trial that some Australian networks compatible with the iPad are actually 4G, though those networks do not advertise as such. The judge in the case has not yet accepted the settlement, citing Apple’s unknown total worth and the number of Australians affected by the misleading ads. The judge wants to make sure the settlement amount is “meaningful” for Apple, and has put off his decision until he can get more information from both Apple and the ACCC, the deadline for which is next Wednesday.
(via The Australian)