Apple is reportedly willing to offer refunds to iPad buyers in Australia who feel they were misled to believe the new tablet is capable of connecting to the 4G/LTE network Down Under.
Apple senior counsel Paul Anastassiou told the Federal Court in Melbourne today that the company was prepared to offer refunds even though it had -- he said -- never claimed the new tablet would work fully on the 4G network in Australia operated by Telstra, according to various published reports. Apple also proposed publishing a clarification regarding incompatibility issues on its Web site and at its stores.
The revelation comes a day after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found Apple in violation of the Australian Consumer Law by misleadingly labeling its new iPad as 4G-capable and said it would try to get a court to impose fines and an injunction against sales.
"Consumers who have purchased or are considering purchasing an 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' should ensure that they have a proper understanding of the mobile data networks which this iPad can directly access by a SIM card," the ACCC said.
The third-generation iPad comes in two varieties: one with only Wi-Fi networking and one with wireless network service provided through mobile phone networks. In the United States and some other areas, the wireless network can work with the higher speeds of the LTE standard for 4G networking. In areas where 4G is unavailable, the device works at the slower 3G speeds.
In Australia, though, the 4G service uses an 1800MHz frequency band, while the new iPad's 4G requires 700MHz or 2100MHz for 4G. The Apple store in Australia uses the standard product naming for the 4G-capable model, but the fine print makes mention of using 4G networks only overseas.
"The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada," the Apple store iPad product page says.
Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.