Italy's Antitrust Authority has fined Apple €900,000 (some $1.2 million) today for misleading consumers. The country launched an investigation following complaints of "unfair commercial practices" related to product warranties.
Apple sells its products with a standard one-year warranty and offers additional coverage through its AppleCare Protection Plan. However, that policy clashes with Italy's Consumer Code, which protects buyers with a mandatory two-year warranty.
According to the antitrust body, Apple Sales International, Apple Italia and Apple Retail Italia failed to inform customers that they were entitled to two years of free coverage. It's reported that €400,000 of the fine is for misleading consumers about their right to the additional warranty, while the remaining €500,000 was for selling AppleCare.
The company has 90 days to update its AppleCare policy so it's in compliance with Italian law and informs shoppers about their rights.
It's unclear how much Apple profited off extended warranty sales in the region, where it has nine retail outlets and an online store. Nonetheless, the $1.2 fine million is essentially pocket change compared to the company's quarterly earnings.
Apple posted a net profit of $6.62 billion in the last quarter, at which time it reportedly had $81.6 billion in the bank. Apple hasn't responded to the announcement and it has 60 days to appeal the ruling according to the Antitrust Authority.
The news comes as Apple is accused of various wrongdoings around the globe. In early December, the European Commission launched formal antitrust proceedings to learn whether Apple and five ebook publishers are engaged in anticompetitive practices.
A similar US class-action suit was filed in August. In April, several governments began investigating the controversial iOS tracking discovery. This is on top of the ongoing squabbles with Samsung and others.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
The 13-inch MacBook Air models get a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2637M processor, 4GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of flash storage for $1,299 or $1,599, respectively. Configure to order options include a 1.8 GHz Core i7-2677M processor and additional flash storage, but unfortunately no discrete graphics, only the built-in HD 3000 from Intel.
Read expert reviews, pros & cons, and product information about Apple Mac Mini - Summer 2011 Edition - Intel Core i5. There are 55 reviews available so far.
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