Apple iPad faces investigation by advertising watchdog
APPLE faces an investigation by the advertising watchdog over claims on its website that the new iPad has 4G mobile internet capabilities.
The British Advertising Standards Agency said it was responding to complaints that Apple was still advertising the feature, despite the facts that there are no commercially-available 4G networks yet and that the new iPad will not be able to connect to them when they are introduced. The regulator said the claims remained "potentially problematic".
It follows an earlier agreement between the regulator and Apple to drop the claims. The ASA initially approached the firm after receiving 40 complaints.
“When we approached Apple with the concerns that had been raised, it stated it had removed references to 4G from the webpage that was subject to the complaints,” a spokesman for the ASA said.
“Apple also agreed to edit a video that contained references to 4G. On the basis that the issues that had been raised with us had been resolved we closed the case informally.”
"We have since been contacted by several complainants who have identified other potentially problematic claims about the iPad and 4G on Apple's website. We are currently assessing these new complaints. If it appears that the problem claims we asked Apple to remove are still appearing, will investigate these new complaints.”
Apple declined to comment. An unnamed source told the BBC it had not undertaken to remove all references to 4G capabilities from its website.
The online shop still offers British buyers a "Wi-Fi + 4G" version of the iPad.
In the United States and Canada it allows much faster mobile internet access than via 3G networks. However 4G networks in Europe, including the ones due to be built in Britain, operate on different frequencies that are incompatible with the new iPad’s 4G chip.
Apple is also in dispute with Australian regulators over the advertising of the iPad there.
The country's Competition and Consumer Commission accused the firm of misleading consumers by telling them that the product could connect to a 4G network in Australia when that was not the case.
Apple offered to refund any iPad buyers in Australia who felt that they had been misled.
Britain has fallen behind the United States and European countries on the introduction of faster mobile internet. An auction of spectrum licences has suffered repeated delays and is mired in legal controversy.