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Ad watchdog raps Apple over iPhone claims

ASA says ads misled over internet capabilities

An iPhone in a hand

An advertisement for Apple’s first iPhone breached regulations by misleadingly claiming that users could access all of the internet, a watchdog has ruled.

The television advert for the iPhone showed a user scrolling through various web pages before a voice-over said: ‘You never know which part of the internet you’ll need,’ and later: ‘Which is why all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone.’

But two viewers said the claim was misleading because the iPhone did not support Flash or Java applications, both integral to many web pages.

Complaint upheld

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint, ruling the advert gave a ‘misleading impression’ of the iPhone’s internet capability.

It noted that the phone could not use Java and Flash software, leaving users unable to access certain features on some websites or some websites in their entirety.

The ASA said it considered Apple’s argument that the advert was about ‘site availability rather than technical detail’, but said the claims suggested users would have complete access to the internet.

Apple responds

It has told Apple the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Defending the advert, Apple said it aimed to show that the iPhone could access all internet websites compared with other handsets that were limited to sites selected by service providers.

All the websites featured in the advert were available on the iPhone and were shown as they would be seen by the user.

The company said it was clear that the reference to ‘all parts of the internet’ referred to internet site availability, and not to every function available on every website.

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