x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

iPad given new name over 4G row

Apple has renamed its new iPad in the UAE as part of a global rebranding exercise, after concerns about its lack of 4G compatibility outside North America.

The tablet - unofficially dubbed the
The tablet - unofficially dubbed the "iPad 3" - works on a different frequency from the new 4G networks in markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Reuters

Apple has renamed its new iPad in the UAE as part of a global rebranding exercise, after concerns about its lack of 4G compatibility outside North America.

The technology giant officially launched the latest tablet in the Emirates last weekend, but its local website downplays its 4G function - a big selling point in the US.

In the States, the cellular version of the iPad was marketed as "Wi-Fi + 4G", in reference to its support of super-fast mobile-internet connections. But it will not work as a 4G device here because it uses a different frequency to that supported by Etisalat.

The iPad is now being marketed as "Wi-Fi + Cellular" on Apple's UAE retail website.

The change is part of a global rebranding exercise, after Apple faced censure for the iPad's lack of compatibility with 4G networks outside of the US and Canada.

A disclaimer on the UAE site warns consumers that the new iPad does not support the super-fast networks available locally.

"4G LTE is supported only on AT&T networks in the US and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada. See your carrier for details," it states.

The move follows a warning by the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. It said in March it would ask Apple to clarify that the iPad was not compatible with local 4G networks upon its official launch in this market.

Apple has rebranded the device on all its global sites following pressure from authorities in the UK and Australia over the lack of 4G connectivity.

It has even changed the name of the device on its US website, where its 4G function does work.

Australia's consumer affairs regulator last month accused Apple of misleading consumers.

bflanagan@thenational.ae