Apple has changed the name of some versions of the new iPad after pressure from consumers and regulators.
Apple previously advertised new iPads that connect to mobile internet networks as supporting ‘4G’ – the name given to faster, next generation mobile networks that are as fast and responsive as many home broadband connections. Read our What is 4G LTE? guide for a more detailed explanation.
However, due to incompatibilities, the third-generation iPad cannot connect to existing or planned 4G networks in many countries, including the UK. It only works on 4G networks in the US and Canada.
Last week the Advertising Standards Authority reiterated its dissatisfaction with Apple’s response to the issue. Apple has now changed information on its website – versions supporting mobile internet are now referred to as ‘Wi-Fi + Cellular’ and all references to 4G have been removed in favour of ‘ultra-fast wireless’.
What are your rights?
If you bought a ‘4G’ iPad with the expectation of connecting to 4G networks in the UK when they’re launched next year, what can you do?
Which? lawyers say: ‘Anyone dissatisfied needs to take the matter up with the retailer that sold them the iPad as that is who their contract is with. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 makes it a term of that contract that goods be “as described” and so to be able to claim for breach of contract they would need to establish that the iPad they bought wasn’t.’
Apple has already offered refunds to customers in Australia who are unhappy due to this issue, but Apple UK has confirmed to Which? that it won’t be offering similar redress to UK consumers.
In a statement it said: ‘The new iPad supports many high speed networks around the world, including LTE in the US and Canada and HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA in many countries. Carriers do not all refer to their high speed networks with the same terminology, therefore we’ve decided to use “Wi-Fi + Cellular” as a simple term which describes all the high speed networks supported by the new iPad. The advanced wireless features of the new iPad have not changed.’
It added that customers can return their iPads within 14 days of purchase as normal.
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What do consumers think?
When we highlighted this issue on our Which? Conversation community website, many people were confused about why the iPad was said to support 4G.
Stephen Lamyman said: ‘I am totally confused, I know nothing of 3G or 4G but expected as promised on the Apple website for my new iPad to be using the 4G networks, now I discover this is just a slightly quicker 3G…..glad the office paid for it and not me!’
Dunkan said: ‘I’ve just received my new iPad 4G, and had – until reading the Which? article – thought it would use 4G as soon as we had 4G in the UK…It’s a lovely piece of kit; but now I’m not a happy bunny!’
Steve said: ‘Advertising is all well and good, but what about the packaging and POS? I was told the 4G would work in the UK in the Apple store and it says 4G clearly on the box too. Apple is obliged to deliver on this description or consult trading standards. Either that or change the label to 3G or 4G US.’
Have you bought a ‘4G’ iPad and now regret it? Share your views on Which? Conversation.