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Apple tries to spread the redefinition of '4G' in Australian iPad lawsuit

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Apple is trying to redefine "4G" in Australia in response to a suit brought against it by the ACCC.

Gallery Photo: iPad hardware hands-on
Gallery Photo: iPad hardware hands-on

After news that talks have stalled between Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over the name of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, the company has submitted a defense filing in which it attempts to redefine just what is means to put the "4G" label on a product. Responding to the ACCC's claim that the iPad 4G doesn't actually work with Australia's LTE networks, Apple is attempting to further separate "4G" from any particular technology (like LTE), and instead make it purely a "descriptor" of speed. According to The Australian, Apple argues that:

The descriptor '4G' ... conveys to consumers in Australia that the iPad with WiFi + 4G will deliver a superior level of service in terms of data transfer speed (consistent with accepted industry and regulatory use of that term), and not that the iPad with WiFi + 4G is compatible with any particular network technology promoted by a particular mobile service provider in Australia.

Customers in the United States are sadly no stranger to the shifting definition of "4G" in the midst of the carrier battles here. Apple itself capitulated recently and allowed the iPhone to get a "4G" label on AT&T's HSPA network. Such battles had largely been limited to the US, but the fight over the "accepted industry and regulatory use of that term" apparently knows no borders. In case you were hoping that Apple was merely trying to redefine 4G in the limited scope of the iPad, it turns out that Apple goes so far as to say that existing HSPA+ networks in Australia "are 4G networks in accordance with accepted industry and regulatory use of the descriptor '4G.'"

Proponents of a sane use of the term "4G" should probably accept that Apple is no longer in their corner on the issue — even if the company's hand was forced by the ACCC.