The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK has taken action against an advertisement for the iPhone 3G which says "So what's so great about 3G? It's what helps you get the news, really fast."
The ad has a close-up of the handset being used to surf a news webpage, view the Google maps service and download a file, with the user waiting just a fraction of a second for each action. Text on the screen said: "Network performance will vary by location."
The ASA said 17 viewers complained that the ad was misleading because it exaggerated the speed of the iPhone 3G and upheld the complaints, ordering that the ad must not appear again in its current form.
Apple UK defended the ads on the following grounds:
* the ad intended to compare the new 3G model with its 2G predecessor, and the claims were "relative rather than absolute in nature".
* the implication that the 3G iPhone allowed "really fast" downloads and internet access in comparison to the previous generation was not misleading.
* the average viewer was a mobile phone user and would have understood that a device's performance varied due to several factors.
It also added that the average viewer would understand that a 30-second TV ad was simplified to allow an illustration of the device, adding that the text stating "network performance will vary by location" underlined the possibility of performance variations.
The ASA's stand was that many viewers might not be fully aware of the technical differences between the new iPhone and its predecessor and noted the ad did not give an explicit indication of a comparison with the older phone.
It said the ad was likely to lead viewers to believe that the device actually operated at or near to the speeds shown.
It concluded: "Because we understood that it did not, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead."