Apple rebuked over G5 speed-lead claim - again

'Not justified', rules UK watchdog


Apple today had its wrist slapped for running a series of magazine adverts which falsely alleged that its Power Mac G5 was the "world's fastest computer".

The UK's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), received two complaints about Apple's ads, both challenging not only the Mac maker's speed claim but its insistence that the G5 was "the first [computer] with a 64-bit processor" and that "the systems built around the G5 can shatter the 4-gigabyte memory ceiling that limits every other PC on earth".

Upon "expert advice", the ASA ruled that the independent tests carried out on Apple's behalf and which formed the basis for the company's speed-lead claim simply showed "the Power Mac G5 was faster than the other two processors on some applications under certain conditions, but not that it was the fastest processor in all circumstances for all applications".

Worse, the ASA "understood that the G5 machine tested was still under development and the tests seemed to be configured in a way that might have given the Power Mac G5 an unfair advantage".

On that basis, Apple was told not to make the claim again. However, the ASA ruled that Apple could legitimately say that its machine was the first 64-bit desktop personal computer, and that, at the time the adverts were published, no other PC could access more than 4GB of memory.

It's not the first time Apple has faced scrutiny by advertising regulators over its Power Mac G5 campaign. In November 2003, the UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC), now part of OfCom, ruled that Apple's claim to offer the "world's fastest, most powerful personal computer" was "misleading".

In the US last March, the company faced a similar complaint from the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Division (NAD). ®

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