iPhone Ad Pulled for Making False Speed Claims

Dennis Faas's picture

Tempted to buy an Apple iPhone for yourself or a loved one this Christmas? Impressed by its video playback, games, and touch screen technology? How about its speed? Well, the latter may not be as impressive as Apple has led consumers to believe.

According to reports, Apple has been forced to pull an advertisement airing in Britain that boasted the device's extremely fast capabilities. The ad in question showed an iPhone 3G transferring data "really fast"; however, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has deemed that spot misleading and has in turn banned the ad from airing in Britain in the future. The ASA has demanded that it "must not appear again in its current form."

In a statement, Apple defended the "really fast" claim by remarking that it was made in a very general manner, and that the new iPhone is in fact faster than the original EDGE-based iPhone. In fact, the Cupertino-based firm remarked that the claims were "relative rather than absolute in nature." The company also pointed to the usual small print; a disclaimer along with the ad admits that "network performance will vary by location." (Source: arstechnica.com)

The ASA wasn't buying the excuses, however. Citing some seventeen consumer complaints over the ad, it went ahead with banning the advertisement until a more realistic portrayal of the device's capabilities can be made. Despite the disclaimer and Apple's plea that speed claims were made speaking relatively, the ASA determined that too many consumers "might not be fully aware of the technical differences between the different types of technology." (Source: guardian.co.uk)

Indeed, it seems Apple marketing has too readily assumed that the average iPhone buyer spends hours studying local transfer speeds and making close comparisons between the iPhone 3G and its predecessor.

This isn't the first time Apple has been bruised by harsh ASA criticisms. Earlier in 2008, the company faced an official backlash after claiming that "all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone." In fact, the iPhone didn't support either Flash or Java, meaning that in fact many parts of the Internet were not on the iPhone.

No word yet on how Apple plans to fix the ad, but with terrifying competition in the form of the BlackBerry Storm on the horizon maybe the California company should be more careful choosing its words.

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