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8/27/2008
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'Misleading' U.K. iPhone Ad Pulled

Viewers complained that they couldn't access "all parts of the Internet" due to the lack of Flash and Java support on the handset.

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority has banned an iPhone ad because the agency said the claim that the handset can access "all parts of the Internet" is misleading due to the lack of Flash and Java support.

The commercial in question shows a person using the touch screen to flick through various Web pages.

"You never know which part of the Internet you'll need," A voiceover in the ad said. "The 'do you need sun cream' part? The 'what's the quickest way to the airport' part? The 'what about an ocean view room' part? Or the 'can you really afford this' part? Which is why all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone."

Two viewers complained that the ads were misleading because the handset does not have Flash or Java support, which are integral to popular sites like YouTube.

In response, Apple said the ad was meant to highlight the difference between surfing the Web on an iPhone and on a normal mobile phone, which often restricts users to simplified, WAP-versions of Web sites. The phrase "all parts of the Internet" referred to site availability, not every aspect of functionality on these sites, Apple said.

Additionally, Apple said the handset's Safari browser was built on open Internet standards, and the company could not ensure that third-party proprietary technology like Java and Flash would work properly on it.

The ASA did not agree, and it said that because the browser's technical limitations weren't explained the "ad gave a misleading impression of the Internet capability of the iPhone."

Apple is also facing some troubles in the United States over its ads, as an Alabama woman is suing because the iPhone 3G is much slower than advertised due to widely-reported reception problems.

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