Samsung Sued by Australian Consumer Watchdog for ‘Misleading’ Galaxy Phone Water Resistance Ads

Samsung is in hot water with Australia's consumer watchdog for allegedly misleading consumers about the level of water resistance its Galaxy smartphones offer.

Samsung Galaxy advertisement

Reuters reports that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing the South Korean firm for falsely representing its Galaxy phones as suitable for use underwater, following ads that show the devices being submerged in swimming pools and used in ocean water.

Samsung did not know or sufficiently test the effects of pool or saltwater exposure on its phones when ads showed them fully submerged, claims the ACCC lawsuit.
"The ACCC alleges Samsung's advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
Samsung Galaxy phones are marketed as having IP68 water resistance, defined as resistant to water 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes. The ACCC's point is the IP68 rating doesn't cover all types of water. However, Samsung told Reuters it stood by its advertising, complied with Australian law, and would defend the case.

The smartphone maker has invested heavily in advertising to rebuild its reputation in the public eye, following its 2016 global recall of fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 devices.


This article, "Samsung Sued by Australian Consumer Watchdog for 'Misleading' Galaxy Phone Water Resistance Ads" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple News+ Expanding to United Kingdom and Australia in iOS 13

Apple today at WWDC 2019 announced that Apple News+ will be expanding to the United Kingdom and Australia in iOS 13.


Apple News+ is currently available in the United States for $9.99 per month and in Canada for $12.99 per month. The service, based on Apple's acquisition of Texture, provides unlimited access to hundreds of digital magazines and newspapers.

Apple's WWDC 2019 keynote is underway. Stay tuned for updates…

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019

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Australia’s National Australia Bank Now Accepts Apple Pay

National Australia Bank (NAB) today announced support for Apple Pay, allowing NAB customers with a Visa Card to make purchases using the Apple Pay payments service.

NAB, a former notable Apple Pay holdout, is the third of Australia's "Big Four" banks to begin accepting Apple Pay.



Apple Pay support was announced on NAB's Twitter account earlier today, and MacRumors readers have confirmed that the service is now working. NAB is not yet listed as a partner on Apple's Apple Pay site in the country, but should be added soon.

NAB, along with Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, attempted to collectively bargain with Apple in an attempt to force Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets, like those offered by the banks themselves.

Apple claimed this would be harmful to customers and would stifle innovation, which Australian regulators agreed with. The banks were not provided with authorization to collectively bargain with Apple.

Commonwealth Bank, the largest bank in Australia and another former Apple Pay holdout, began accepting Apple Pay in January, and ANZ, another of the four big banks in the country, has accepted Apple Pay since it launched in Australia, as have other smaller banks.

With CBA, ANZ, and NAB all accepting Apple Pay, Westpac is the sole major holdout in Australia. It's not clear if and when Westpac will begin supporting Apple Pay, but with all other major banks making the feature available, Westpac may give in.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple’s Limited Time iPhone XS and iPhone XR Trade-Up Promotion Ends March 4 in Australia

Australians looking to take advantage of Apple's limited time iPhone XS and iPhone XR trade-up promotion should act fast, as the offer ends Monday, March 4 in Australia, according to an update to Apple's website.


As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. The iPhone XR starts at $1,229 in Australia, for example, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus until next week.


The promotion began in the United States in late November and expanded to Apple Stores internationally in late December.

Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a prominent banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, App Store editorials, emails to older iPhone users, and more since the smartphones launched last year.

In a letter to shareholders last month, Apple said it saw fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated last quarter, primarily due to greater-than-expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple said making smartphone trade-ins at its stores easier is one step it would take to improve results.

No end date has been specified for the U.S. promotion as of yet.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Now Supports Apple Pay

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) today implemented support for Apple Pay, making it the second of Australia's "Big Four" banks to offer the payments service. CBA is the biggest retail bank in Australia and was a notable Apple Pay holdout.

Multiple MacRumors readers in Australia have reported being able to add their Commonwealth Bank cards to Apple Pay, and Commonwealth Bank is listed as a partner on Apple's Apple Pay site in Australia.


Commonwealth Bank first announced plans to support Apple Pay last month, giving in to consumer demand after a years-long dispute with Apple over fees and access to the NFC chips in iPhones.

When announcing Apple Pay support, Commonwealth Bank Group Executive of Retail Banking services Angus Sullivan said that the bank had heard many requests from customers asking for Apple Pay, leading to its implementation.
"We are committed to making changes that benefit our customers and simplify our business. We will continue to look for more opportunities to innovate and listen, to ensure our customers get the best experience when they bank with us. Responding to customer demand for Apple Pay underscores our commitment to becoming a better, simpler bank.
Commonwealth Bank, along with NAB and Westpac, tried to collectively bargain with Apple to attempt to force Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets, like those offered by the banks themselves.

Apple said that this would be harmful to consumers and would stifle innovation, a position that Australian regulators agreed with when denying the banks authorization for collective bargaining.


ANZ was the only one of the four major banks in Australia to support Apple Pay when it launched in the country in April 2016. Other smaller banks later implemented support, but Commonwealth, NAB, and Westpac continued to hold out amid negotiations.

It's not clear if NAB and Westpac will implement support now that Commonwealth Bank has done so.

Bankwest in Australia is also now supporting Apple Pay, along with ASB Bank Limited in New Zealand and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Canada. Multiple smaller banks in the U.S. have implemented Apple Pay support as well, with a full list available on Apple's website.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Extends iPhone XR and iPhone XS Trade-In Promotion to UK, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, and Elsewhere

Apple today extended its limited-time promotion offering extra trade-in credit towards an iPhone XR or iPhone XS to additional countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. The promotion first launched in the United States in late November.


The promotion has also gone live in the China region, as spotted by 9to5Mac, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao.

As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. In Australia, for example, the iPhone XR starts at $1,229, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus for a limited time.

In certain countries, the promotion is only available at Apple Stores, but it is also available on Apple.com in some regions. Apple says the offer ends January 31, 2019 in China and Japan, but it has yet to specify a deadline in other countries.

Many analysts have expressed concerns about weakening iPhone sales, and Apple's aggressive marketing of the iPhone XR in particular and its decision to stop disclosing iPhone unit sales starting next quarter fit that narrative. Apple's stock price is down nearly 30 percent since the day of its last earnings report.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Australia Passes Controversial Encryption Bill Despite Opposition From Apple and Other Tech Companies

The Australian parliament on Thursday passed controversial encryption legislation that could result in tech companies being forced to give law enforcement access to encrypted customer messages.

As we reported in October, Apple opposed the legislation in a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, calling the encryption bill "dangerously ambiguous" and wide open to potential abuse by authorities.


Advocates of the bill, officially titled "Assistance and Access Bill 2018," argue it is essential to national security because encrypted communications are used by terrorist groups and criminals to avoid detection.

CNET provided a breakdown on the Australian bill and the three tiers of law enforcement and state agency assistance it covers:
  • Technical assistance request: A notice to provide "voluntary assistance" to law enforcement for "safeguarding of national security and the enforcement of the law."

  • Technical assistance notice: A notice requiring tech companies to offer decryption "they are already capable of providing that is reasonable, proportionate, practicable and technically feasible" where the company already has the "existing means" to decrypt communications (e.g. where messages aren't end-to-end encrypted).

  • Technical capability notice: A notice issued by the attorney general, requiring tech companies to "build a new capability" to decrypt communications for law enforcement. The bill stipulates this can't include capabilities that "remove electronic protection, such as encryption."
The Australian government insists that the laws don't provide a backdoor into encrypted communications, however Apple says says the language in the bill permits the government to order companies who make smart home speakers to "install persistent eavesdropping capabilities" or require device makers to create a tool to unlock devices.

Likewise, the joint industry lobby group DIGI, which includes Amazon, Facebook, Google, Oath, and Twitter, said they were willing to work with the government to promote public safety, but the laws could "potentially jeopardize the security of the apps and systems that millions of Australians use every day."

Apple has fought against anti-encryption legislation and attempts to weaken device encryption for years, and its most public battle was against the U.S. government in 2016 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple ultimately held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the device, but Apple has continually had to deal with further law enforcement efforts to combat encryption.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple’s Black Friday Event Begins in Australia: Up to $280 Apple Store Gift Card With Select Products

Apple's four-day Black Friday shopping event is now live in Australia and New Zealand, offering customers free Apple Store gift cards worth up to A$280 or NZ$320 with the purchase of select new Apple products.


Apple offers up to a $70 gift card in Australia and up to an $80 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select older iPhone models, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. As usual, the deal does not extend to the latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR.

Apple offers up to a $140 gift card in Australia and up to a $160 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select iPad models, including the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad, and iPad mini 4. Likewise, the deal does not extend to the latest 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.

Apple offers up to a $280 gift card in Australia and up to a $320 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select Macs, including the latest MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro models. The deal extends to the MacBook Air, but only the previous-generation model without a Retina display.

Apple Store gift cards are also being offered with the purchase of select Apple Watch, HomePod, Apple TV, and Beats models.

The deals are available via Apple.com in each country and at Apple Stores in Australia through November 26, which is Cyber Monday, an increasingly popular online-focused shopping holiday that follows Black Friday.

Apple will extend its Black Friday shopping event to the United States, Canada, and many European countries as the clock turns to Friday around the world. Last year, Apple offered gift cards worth up to $150 in the United States, but it could be up to $200 this year based on the Australian dollar amounts.

More details to follow…

Related Roundup: Apple Black Friday

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Apple Criticizes Proposed Anti-Encryption Legislation in Australia

The Australian government is considering a bill that would require tech companies like Apple to provide "critical assistance" to government agencies who are investigating crimes.

According to the Australian government, encryption is problematic because encrypted communications "are increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption."


As noted by TechCrunch, Apple today penned a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament criticizing the proposed legislation.

In the letter, Apple calls the bill "dangerously ambiguous" and explains the importance of encryption in "protecting national security and citizens' lives" from criminal attackers who are finding more serious and sophisticated ways to infiltrate iOS devices.
In the face of these threats, this is no time to weaken encryption. There is profound risk of making criminals' jobs easier, not harder. Increasingly stronger -- not weaker -- encryption is the best way to protect against these threats.
Apple says that it "challenges the idea" that weaker encryption is necessary to aid law enforcement investigations as it has processed more than 26,000 requests for data to help solve crimes in Australia over the course of the last five years.

According to Apple, the language in the bill is broad and vague, with "ill-defined restrictions." As an example, Apple says the language in the bill would permit the government to order companies who make smart home speakers to "install persistent eavesdropping capabilities" or require device makers to create a tool to unlock devices.

Apple says additional work needs to be done on the bill to include a "firm mandate" that "prohibits the weakening of encryption or security protections," with the company going on to outline a wide range of specific concerns that it hopes the Australian parliament will address. The list of flaws Apple has found with the bill can be found in the full letter.

Apple has been fighting against anti-encryption legislation and attempts to weaken device encryption for years, and its most public battle was against the U.S. government in 2016 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple ultimately held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the device, but Apple has continually had to deal with further law enforcement efforts to combat encryption.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Australian Teen Who Hacked into Apple’s Servers Multiple Times Escapes Conviction

A Melbourne schoolboy who hacked into Apple's corporate servers on multiple occasions over two years has avoided conviction, reports The Age.

The 19-year-old student, who can't be named for legal reasons as his case is being heard in an Australian Children's Court, earlier pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple's internal systems several times in 2015 and 2016.

The boy's hacking is said to have begun at the age of 16, and involved downloading 90 gigabytes of secure files and accessing customer accounts. His lawyer later told police that the teen "dreamed of" working for Apple.

The magistrate dealing with the case reportedly handed down an eight-month probation order, and said that no conviction would be recorded. The court also heard how the private school boy has since been accepted into university to study criminology and cyber safety.

That international investigation began when Apple detected the unauthorized access and blocked the source of the intrusions. The company notified the FBI, which passed on the information to the Australian Federal Police, resulting in a warrant being executed at the family home last year.

Prosecutors said the raid turned up a "litany of hacking files" in a folder on the boy's computer named "hacky hack hack," as well as devices with IP addresses that matched the source of the intrusions.

Following reports of the case, Apple released a statement to assure customers that at no point during the incident was personal data compromised.


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