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Apple Offers Refunds To Australians, Promises to Clarify 4G iPad Marketing

Today’s hearing into the ACCC’s allegation that Apple is misleading Australian consumers with its labeling of the new iPad as “4G” has recently adjourned for the day, with two promises from Apple. First, it will offer full refunds to any customer who purchased the WiFi + 4G model expecting it to work on Telstra’s 4G network (although this isn’t too significant, given Apple already offers a 14-day period to return any product). Second, it has committed to further clarifying its marketing to explicitly note it is incompatible with the Telstra 4G network. Emma O’Sullivan tweets that the phrasing will be “this product supports very fast cellular networks, it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks”. Apple promised to update all marketing to this new phrasing by April 5th.

It seems fairly clear that Apple wants to resolve the dispute with the ACCC quickly, not only committing to these two promises as an interim agreement, but also advocating the use of closed-door mediation with ACCC. In contrast, the ACCC is pushing for a full trial in early May.

Bizarrely, one point that Apple argued in the hearing today was that Australia’s mobile networks were “misnamed”. Apple argued that what are currently called 3G networks in Australia should actually be called 4G networks by “international standards” - the ACCC responded by saying that Apple is in fact using “US standards”.

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