Wed 28 Mar 2012
The big news here in Australia – well, you’d think it was big news with the amount of press coverage it’s getting – is that mean ol’ Apple is intentionally bilking people of their money by advertising that the new iPad 3 can connect to 4G networks. Which it can, but hey. Just not, as it turns out, Telstra’s Australian 4G network.
Apple has quite obviously made a misstep here, but in my view it’s unlikely they deliberately went about exploiting their potential customers – I think we can surmise that they’re smart enough to realise that if they tried to trick people this way they’d get busted as soon as someone tried to use an iPad 3 with a Telstra 4G account.
This has not stopped Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, from putting the boot in, however. In keeping with current media fashion they just lurve the mileage they can get out of kicking Apple. The ACCC took Apple to court claiming that Apple has made ‘misleading statements’ about the connectivity situation. Apple, for their part, have very reasonably agreed to publish a clarification of the issue, and to refund the purchase price to anyone who wants to return their iPad 3.
Blah blah blah, who really cares? It doesn’t seem to me that this warrants the status of screaming front page news on just about every news outlet in the land.
This whole thing annoys me in a major way, though. For a couple of years now I’ve been having conversations with various ACCC personnel about the risible ShooTag and its presence here in Australia. Their willingness to do anything about this product has not demonstrated anywhere near the same level of enthusiasm as this sniping at Apple, and yet ShooTag is not merely making misleading claims: the ShooTag Australia site promotes outright lies (not the least of which is the bogus Texas State University endorsement which is still on the home page).
The makers of ShooTag, as you will recall, are not content to put the health of your pet at risk by promoting baseless pseudoscientific thinking, but are now promoting their product for humans, as a defence against insect-carried diseases including malaria.
I have, of course, pointed this out to the ACCC, here in a country where we have significant problems with mosquito-borne diseases, but apparently it’s much more important to protect the disposable income of affluent gadget-buyers than it is to attend to the wellbeing of pets and humans.
It gets much better press, at least.