This file photo shows customers lining up outside an Apple store in Sydney, in March. Apple fans in Australia became the first in the world to get their hands on the latest iPad as hundreds of gadget lovers laid siege to the company's flagship Sydney store. (AFP Photo/Mark Gunter)
Apple has been fined Aus$2.25 million ($2.29 million) for misleading Australian consumers about the local 4G capability of its next-generation iPad, in a case brought by regulators.
The tech giant was also ordered to pay Aus$300,000 in costs by the Federal Court.
Justice Mordy Bromberg found that Apple misled people with claims in its advertising implying that the "iPad with WiFi + 4G" could connect with fourth generation cellular networks in Australia, when it could not.
The judgement found the company engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public and contravened Australian consumer law.
Apple had offered in March to refund Australian customers who felt they had been misled, and publish a clarification about the popular tablet's capabilities.
The product is now advertised outside North America as "Wi-Fi + Cellular" -- a change that came into effect on May 12 -- with a clear caveat on its Australian site that "it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks."
"Apple does not seek to deny the deliberateness of its conduct and there are no facts before me which seek to excuse or explain the conduct, other than that the conduct occurred at the behest of Apple's parent company," Bromberg said.
The iPad was the world's best-selling tablet in the first three months of 2012, outgunning its Android-powered rivals, with sales more than doubling from a year earlier to send Apple's profits soaring.