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UK ad watchdog may investigate new iPad's 4G claims

The ASA is considering investigating Apple's advertising for the new iPad, after receiving complaints.

Apple could come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) here in Blighty over its marketing for the new iPad, the FT reports (requires registration).

The ASA has had complaints from customers claiming Apple's labelling of the device as 4G is misleading, seeing as we don't have 4G networks in the UK yet. We've previously reported how Apple was bashed in Australia for calling the tablet 4G when it wasn't compatible with 4G networks down under. The Cupertino company even offered refunds for anyone feeling hard done by. Could the same happen over here?

The ASA has received 24 complaints from disgruntled customers. It's considering launching a full investigation. But it's not just the customers who were annoyed at Apple's marketing. An unnamed source at a leading mobile operator told the Financial Times they disagreed on how to promote the device.

"It was an issue as marketing materials had references to Wi-Fi and 4G," they said. "We asked them to change it and pushed back relatively hard on the 4G stuff. They normally tell us what to say and when, which is fine as they know their business, but suddenly they talk about the network and it went all wrong. The 4G references are going."

It's not even a case of waiting for the networks to be set up either. The iPad uses different 4G spectrum bands to the ones we'll get here in the UK, so Apple would have to launch a new version for it to ever be 4G in Blighty. What's worse is that the British version didn't fare too well in our international speed test.

Apple has updated its website to point out that: "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US, and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada." But the ASA has the power to take action retrospectively, so Apple could still be in trouble over its original claims.

What do you make of Apple's marketing for the new iPad? Was it misleading? Did you buy one assuming it would be faster than other devices? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.