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Apple to offer iPad 3 refunds in Australia

At issue is a dispute over 4G connectivity using the device.

Australians who purchased an iPad 3 will be emailed an offer for a refund, the US technology giant said today.

Australia's consumer watchdog has taken the company to court over what it says were false claims that the iPad 3 could connect to a 4G network in Australia.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement:

The promotion of the 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' by Apple Pty Limited and Apple Inc is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

Apple attorney Paul Anastassiou told the Federal Court in Melbourne that the company had never promised full connectivity on Australia's 4G network, operated by Telstra.

On its website, Apple says

4G LTE for the iPad 3 is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada.

The company said it would warn customers that the iPad 3 – which hit stores 16 March - is incompatible with Australia's 4G network.

Hearings have been set for 16 April and 2 May.

Apple's stock has risen nearly 50 per cent in 2012. The company overtook Exxon Mobil to become the world's largest publicly traded company in January, and shares have added more than a third since.