Apple and ACCC mediation fails

Apple and the ACCC have been arguing with each other over the naming of a specific model of Apple's latest iPad, and now, their mediation has failed. For those unaware, the ACCC are the Australian competition watchdog, who preside over false or exaggerated advertising and such.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, this means the next phase of the case has been heard at a directions hearing on April 17th. The results of the directions hearing are not known, though they were discussed at the Federal Court in the city of Melbourne, under Justice Mordecai Bromberg.

The ACCC, or Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepped up against the Cupertino-based technology company over its iPad WiFi + 4G, on March 27th. Apple had already agreed to notify customers that, although the iPad will work at fast speeds, it is not compatible with any Australian 4G network. They went as far as even offering refunds, though the ACCC were aiming further: they want Apple to change the device's name.

The mediation session lasted just under two hours, but neither party reached an agreement. No media attendance was allowed, and it is doubtful that Apple may agree to rename the device, given its repeated insistence on offering alternative solutions to renaming.

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it doesnt work on our 4g because the frequency here is still used for tv and our 4g is on a diff freq =] i actually hope the accc wins this one as i also presumed it would work on 4g here

What I really don't understand is why they don't just try to revise the iPad to operate on Australia's 4G network as well... Provide customers with replacements, and problem fixed...

M_Lyons10 said,
What I really don't understand is why they don't just try to revise the iPad to operate on Australia's 4G network as well... Provide customers with replacements, and problem fixed...

That would take longer that it would take to get the next iPad out. You have to remember that they would first have to design the new antenna, file the patents, test the design, get it approved by whatever committees deal with wireless transmissions in Australia(not sure what Australia's version of the FCC is), mass produce the product, ship the product, and finally sell/replace it.

Edited by ILikeTobacco, Apr 18 2012, 5:12pm :

ILikeTobacco said,

That would take longer that it would take to get the next iPad out. You have to remember that they would first have to design the new antenna, file the patents, test the design, get it approved by whatever committees deal with wireless transmissions in Australia(not sure what Australia's version of the FCC is), mass produce the product, ship the product, and finally sell/replace it.

Well yes, it's a bit late if you start now. I can't imagine it'd be that difficult to swap out the antenna + chip for a compatible one if you design it that way.

ILikeTobacco said,

That would take longer that it would take to get the next iPad out. You have to remember that they would first have to design the new antenna, file the patents, test the design, get it approved by whatever committees deal with wireless transmissions in Australia(not sure what Australia's version of the FCC is), mass produce the product, ship the product, and finally sell/replace it.

Yeah, you're right. I was just thinking that they would be able to add support for the band that they use for their 4G. It just seems like a simple fix that is being blown way out of proportion to me... Though I do not know much about the iPad design and if a change like this would be possible without a complete redesign...

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, you're right. I was just thinking that they would be able to add support for the band that they use for their 4G. It just seems like a simple fix that is being blown way out of proportion to me... Though I do not know much about the iPad design and if a change like this would be possible without a complete redesign...


I wouldn't take a redesign of everything, just those components. It just takes way more than people realize. I even left out that you have to redesign the manufacturing process as well which that alone can takes a few weeks. The smallest changes ripple through the supply chains.

How about instead of just renaming it, they make a new model of the iPad 3 that is actually compatible with Australian 4G, & give it to the people they refunded...

MASTER260 said,
How about instead of just renaming it, they make a new model of the iPad 3 that is actually compatible with Australian 4G, & give it to the people they refunded...

HAH! Beat me to it. lol

MASTER260 said,
How about instead of just renaming it, they make a new model of the iPad 3 that is actually compatible with Australian 4G, & give it to the people they refunded...

But that would make sense and cost Apple money, so we can't have that

Sraf said,

But that would make sense and cost Apple money, so we can't have that


Indeed, those concepts are as foreign to Apple as offering non-ludicrous prices on [most of] their products.

It is the same case in the UK ... as usual Ofcom do nothing ...

Also the issue lies with what exactly does "4G" mean? Everyone thinks it means something different!

Hmm... using this logic I should sue Apple in the United States. I bought an iPhone 3G through ATT back when it was new. It didn't however work with Verizon. Apple advertised it as being 3G and Verizon had a 3G network.... or not. Just as retarded as this.

ILikeTobacco said,
Hmm... using this logic I should sue Apple in the United States. I bought an iPhone 3G through ATT back when it was new. It didn't however work with Verizon. Apple advertised it as being 3G and Verizon had a 3G network.... or not. Just as retarded as this.

No, you bought a phone advertised to work on 3G networks THROUGH AT&T, and that phone was locked to AT&T. No matter the network you use this on in Australia, there will be NO 4G functionality

Sraf said,

No, you bought a phone advertised to work on 3G networks THROUGH AT&T, and that phone was locked to AT&T. No matter the network you use this on in Australia, there will be NO 4G functionality


Was the iPad advertised to work with a certain network? Sure wasn't. No difference.

ILikeTobacco said,
Hmm... using this logic I should sue Apple in the United States. I bought an iPhone 3G through ATT back when it was new. It didn't however work with Verizon. Apple advertised it as being 3G and Verizon had a 3G network.... or not. Just as retarded as this.

Well that's partly because America (and NA as a whole tbh) is ****ing retarded.

In many parts of the world, you can buy a phone and use it on any network available in the country (they all use the same bands). In America well you buy a phone on AT&T, and it won't get 3G on T-Mobile and it won't work at all on Sprint and Verizon.

So in America you're essentially locked to your carrier (unless you want to get a new phone). In other parts of the world, you aren't. You're free to switch carriers, and the only thing holding you to them is their service (or if you signed a contract).

But thats a bit off topic

ILikeTobacco said,

Was the iPad advertised to work with a certain network? Sure wasn't. No difference.

As it was advertised to be 4G, but unable to work on any 4G network in the country, I'd yes it was advertised to work on those networks

-Razorfold said,
...

You are just confirming my point. In the US, we know that something labeled 3G or 4G isn't inherently going to work with anything else listed as 3G or 4G. I understand this is Apple, but that doesn't give Australia consumers a good excuse for thinking the products run on magic. Here I though consumers in the US were terribly not informed when it came to technology.

Sraf said,

As it was advertised to be 4G, but unable to work on any 4G network in the country, I'd yes it was advertised to work on those networks

So the advertisement said word for word, the iPad 4G will work with *insert company name*'s 4G network?

ILikeTobacco said,

You are just confirming my point. In the US, we know that something labeled 3G or 4G isn't inherently going to work with anything else listed as 3G or 4G. I understand this is Apple, but that doesn't give Australia consumers a good excuse for thinking the products run on magic. Here I though consumers in the US were terribly not informed when it came to technology.

Yes but you see in other parts of the world people are used to that being the case.

For example in HK I know if I buy a 3G phone from CSL it will get 3G on Vodafone. Now if I wasn't technologically inclined, and I saw iPad 4G I would naturally assume it works on CSL's 4G LTE network just because history has taught me that.

So its understandable why it would be confusing.

ILikeTobacco said,
So the advertisement said word for word, the iPad 4G will work with *insert company name*'s 4G network?

No, it said Works on 4G networks. The ACCC so far have gotten it changed to Works on 4G networks*

*Not in Australia

The ACCC wants it so that the advertising in Australia removes the Works on 4G networks bit for units sold in Australia, being that, in Australia, it doesn't work on 4G networks

ILikeTobacco said,
I am apparently not use to not looking up things about what I am buying.

Consumer laws are not based on whether consumers are able to go and fact check advertisements - they are based on the general member of the public's immediate interpretation.

(And no, this is not the same as: 'the public will believe anything they read', it's based on common sense interpretation)

They should rename it if the 4G doesn't actually work, even a sticker that says that 4G doesn't work in Aussiland is silly, and is something like this

The New iPad 4G*

*Does not work on 4G networks


It's like a gas station selling leaded fuel but advertising it as unleaded (but with a clarification printed under)

Unleaded* gasoline 104.9/L!

*Gasoline is not unleaded

Sraf said,

*Does not work on 4G networks

Except that it does work on 4G networks, just not the ones there. And here I thought USA was the center of the world, not Australia.

ILikeTobacco said,

Except that it does work on 4G networks, just not the ones there. And here I thought USA was the center of the world, not Australia.

Hence why he said Aussiland...

ILikeTobacco said,

Except that it does work on 4G networks, just not the ones there. And here I thought USA was the center of the world, not Australia.

And as such, it's not unreasonable to expect proper advertising in the market it is being sold in

/Also, I'm not Australian, nor am I living in Australia, so I don't get the centre of the world comment
//To clarify even more, where I am, the 4G functions work

If an Australian product came out in the US and wasn't compatible with the LTE networks there then I'd expect to see a similar thing.

Here is the question I have.

Did the commercials, advertisement material, and all that in AU advertise 4G? Or are they griping that the keynote and website (which reside in countries that do support 4G) are saying 4G without a disclaimer saying it wont work in AU?

necrosis said,
Here is the question I have.

Did the commercials, advertisement material, and all that in AU advertise 4G? Or are they griping that the keynote and website (which reside in countries that do support 4G) are saying 4G without a disclaimer saying it wont work in AU?


Option A