In U.K., iPhone ad banned over 'all Internet' claim

The ad said "all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone." An advertising oversight board ruled that the boast was misleading.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
2 min read

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad for the iPhone that promised users access to "all parts of the internet" on their Apple device.

Apple's iPhone 3G
Apple's iPhone 3G. Apple

The TV advertisement featured an individual flicking through holiday-related Web pages on an iPhone to a voice-over saying: "You never know which part of the Internet you'll need. The 'do you need sun cream' part? The 'what's the quickest way to the airport' part? The 'what about an ocean view room' part? Or the 'can you really afford this' part? Which is why all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone."

The ad prompted two objections to the ASA, claiming the commercial was misleading. As the device doesn't offer Flash or Java, and not all Web sites can be seen in their entirety, the complaints said.

Apple, however, sees the ad differently. The "all parts of the Internet" claim was in reference to the iPhone's ability to offer "full" Internet access--rather than displaying WAP pages, or walled-garden operator content, the company said.

The ASA said in its adjudication: "(Apple) believed the ad was not about technical details or the functionalities or plug-ins that were available on the iPhone, but the varied websites that users could visit and utilise. They said all the websites featured in the ad were available on the iPhone and were shown as they would be seen by the user. They said none of the content in the ad was Flash or Java based and the ad did not mention any other technical capabilities of the iPhone."

But the ASA upheld the complaints, saying the use of phrases "You'll never know which part of the Internet you'll need" and "All parts of the Internet are on the iPhone," combined with the omission, would lead users to believe they could see all sites and see them as they would through their PC.

The ASA ruling said: "We concluded that the ad gave a misleading impression of the Internet capabilities of the iPhone." As a result, Apple can no longer broadcast the ad in its current form.

Apple declined to comment on the ruling.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.