Hey, Apple! Stop fibbing about 4G

New iPad PR shot
The new iPad does 4G, but only if it's the right kind of 4G

Whenever Apple brings out a new thing, it tends to bring out the doom-mongers and exaggerators. The new iPad is no exception. According to some of the more excitable bits of the internet, Apple's latest tablet will cook your plums, keep on charging when it's already charged and tell bare-faced lies about whether it can connect to 4G broadband.

Except that last one's true. In Australia, Apple's giving angry Aussies refunds because they've discovered that "iPad with Wi-Fi and 4G" actually means "iPad with Wi-Fi and not 4G at all, actually."

The problem is that while Australia does have 4G coverage, it's the wrong sort of 4G. The new iPad uses 4G on the 700MHz and 2100MHz frequencies, neither of which are used in Australia.

Is Apple at it?

4G or not 4G, that is the question

If Australians have a right to be annoyed then we Brits should be bloody livid: at least they have a 4G broadband network that their iPads can't connect to. We don't even have that, although UK 4G broadband trials should soon address that, and before long, we too will be among the nations with 4G networks that iPads don't know about and can't connect to.

Never mind asking which countries the iPad can do 4G in. It's actually quicker to list the countries where the iPad can connect to 4G. Ready?



We're done!

You can understand why the Australians are angry. If somebody sells a 4G device in a country where there's a 4G network, you shouldn't have to say "ah, but which 4G? Is it our 4G, or their 4G?" because that would be stupid.

It'd be like buying swimming trunks and asking "do they work in our water, or just American water?"

It's okay for you and I, because we know what 4G is (faster) and where we can't get it (anywhere), but the average person seeing that the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G "connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and fast mobile data networks" is going to take that to mean 4G.

Chucking in small print that says it "can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA...can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada" is completely meaningless to the average person, and I'm sure Apple knows it.

I understand what Apple's trying to do here -- simplify its product range -- but there's a difference between simplification and outright fibbing. I think outside North America, calling anything 4G falls into the latter category.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.