Apple drops iPad ‘4G’ marketing — but not everywhere

The new iPad ditched its claims to be a 4G device in some countries this weekend, after Apple (s AAPL) capitulated to pressure over the way it was being marketed outside North America.

Reports first flooded in from Australia, where Apple’s been fighting a court case over its 4G claims, pointing out that the “iPad 4G” has been dubbed “iPad WiFi & Cellular”.

The same change has happened in some other countries, including New Zealand — but not everywhere, even when the device is not compatible with local networks.

In Sweden, France and Germany, for example, nothing has changed: the iPad is still labelled “WiFi + 4G”, and information that LTE is only supported by AT&T, Verizon, Bell, Rogers and Telus is relegated to a mere footnote. Meanwhile in the U.K., where the company is banned from using ‘4G’ in its marketing because there is no 4G networking at all, the Apple website’s tech specs page still lists 4G capability — but with the same caveat brought up the page into the spec.

It paints a confusing picture, despite the fact that the reality is simple: outside North America, the new iPad’s higher speed connections won’t work.

The confusion is partly because different countries have had different issues with Apple’s marketing. Some have no 4G networks at all — and therefore have concerns that consumers are potentially being misled into buying a product for which there is not appropriate support. Others pointed out that the iPad’s higher speed frequencies — it operates at 700Mhz and 2100Mhz — are incompatible with their local 4G spectrum.

Why not simply change it full stop in the same way? Unless the changes are just being rolled out slowly, the company appears to have chosen a patchwork approach for reasons that are unclear. What’s happened where you live?