THE MEDIA GUARDIAN report that the television advertising for Apple's iPhone has been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog for misleading consumers after it over-hyped the internet capabilities of the smart phone. The advertising does not point to the phone's powerful, energy-draining 3G capabilities. Instead, the ad shows how well the iPhone zips around on its Safari browser, with images zooming in on a weather forecast for Cape Town and a map of how to get to Heathrow airport. "You never know which part of the internet you'll need ... which is why all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone," voiceover says. And therein lies the rub because in many people's minds, you need to see more of the internet than the iPhone can show. According to the Media Guardian, "The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints that the claim was misleading because the iPhone did not support Flash or Java, which are both integral to many web pages. Apple said the aim of the ad was to highlight how the iPhone can offer access to all websites, while many other handsets only offer lower-level access to WAP versions of sites or those selected by service providers." In our hands-on experience (sample at left), the iPhone failed to play YouTube videos and it wouldn't run several plug-ins that our Nokia E90 can operate for video playback when browsing.
I like Safari. It's built on Open Internet Standards and I count on it to render pages faster than many other browsers. One of the reasons that speed occurs on the iPhone is because the browser does not integrate either Flash or Java technology. And because those techologies aren't on the iPhone, the iPhone cannot see websites that use Flash or Java to show content.
The UK Advertising Standards Authority said that claims made by Apple implied that "users would be able to access all websites and see them in their entirety". As explained by the Guardian, because the ad had not explained the limitations of the iPhone, the ASA concluded that "the ad gave a misleading impression of the internet capabilities of the iPhone". The ASA ordered that the TV ad must not be broadcast again in the same form.