Apple (IW 500/9) on Thursday was fined Aus$2.25 million (US$2.29 million) for "deliberately" misleading Australian consumers about the local 4G capability of its latest iPad.

The tech giant was also ordered to pay Aus$300,000 in costs by the federal court in a case brought by regulators, who said the penalty sent a message to global companies that there were consequences for breaching the law.

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.

Deliberate and Serious

The judgment ruled that the company engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public and contravened Australian consumer law.

"The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious," Bromberg said.

"It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation."

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which initiated the proceedings, said it was delighted with the outcome.

"The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers," chairman Rod Sims said.