updated 09:22 pm EDT, Sat May 12, 2012
Emphasizes HSPA variants outside US
Apple appears to have found a solution to complaints (mostly from international dealers) that its touting of LTE or "4G" compatibility in the latest iPad model is misleading outside North America. The company has begun changing the name of the LTE iPad model to "iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular" in its online stores, even in the US and Canada. The change has appeared in other stores, including the UK and Australia.
Authorities in both countries, along with resellers, called for changes in the way Apple markets the LTE-compatible iPad, since the radio Apple uses for LTE compatibility is only compatible with LTE frequencies in the US and Canada. Other countries have assigned a range of different frequencies for LTE, and a radio that can handle all of them was deemed unsuitable for the design goals of the latest iPad.
The rollout of changes is not yet complete, but should help clarify that the "4G" capability the iPad was previous advertised with is not available outside North America. The new LTE iPad was advertised globally as "Wi-Fi + 4G" until authorities in the UK, Australia, Sweden and other countries threatened investigations into misleading advertising. Apple had earlier edited a video and altered the UK website in response to complaints from the UK advertising standards authority, and offered refunds to customers in Australia who complained about the lack of "4G" functionality.
Under the new "Wi-Fi + Cellular" moniker, the LTE iPad is said to support "very fast" cellular networks, and on the Australian store goes on to clarify that it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE or WiMAX networks. Instead, in smaller type, the company says the model can "roam worldwide on fast mobile data networks, including HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA."
HSPA and its variants offer significantly faster speed than conventional 3G, but do not reach the average speeds of genuine LTE or WiMAXs. Some US carriers, such as T-Mobile, have tried to pass HSPA variants off as "4G" since the term is ill-defined in most carrier advertising.
In the US and Canada, the "Wi-Fi + Cellular" iPad is now said to work on "fast cellular networks -- up to 4G LTE." The US version omits any mention of roaming worldwide on HSPA-related networks. The company had previously resisted suggestions of a name change for the Wi-Fi + 4G LTE iPad, but may hope that in capitulating it will avoid potential legal action. [via AppleInsider]