Apple reaches A$2.25M settlement with Australian regulator over 4G iPad

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Apple has agreed to pay an A$2.25 million penalty to an Australian consumer rights watchdog after being accused of falsely advertising its LTE-capable iPad in the country.

In addition to the A$2.25 million (US$2.23 million) penalty, Apple is also expected to pay A$300,000 toward the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's legal fees, The Australian reports (via The Next Web). The ACCC filed its complaint against Apple in March shortly after the release of the new iPad.

Colin Golvan, who represents the ACCC, described the penalty as "substantial" and hoped it would serve as a deterrent to the computer industry.

Though Apple has agreed to the settlement amount, a judge still needs to sign off on the agreement. According to the report, Judge Mordy Bromberg expressed concerns that he didn't have enough information to ascertain whether the penalty is "appropriate."

"At the moment on the agreed facts you put before me, I have no idea whether a consumer who bought the iPad, thinking it could connect to 4G but then realising that it couldn't, has been impacted in any way," Bromberg said."

The commission took issue with Apple advertising the device as 4G even though it was not compatible with LTE networks in Australia. Apple initially defended its decision, claiming that iPad-compatible 3G networks operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in the country could be classified as 4G. The company also revised its store to better inform customers about the iPad's LTE functionality and also offered refunds to customers who were unhappy with their purchase.

Last month, Apple acquiesced to complaints and began rebranding its "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G" as the "iPad W-Fi + Cellular."