Apple stores set to fall foul of Trading Standards?

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Here at KitGuru, we like the idea that all advertising needs to be legal, honest and decent. It’s a cornerstone of how the world does business and it’s to be applauded. Photos sent in from a shopping centre in North London have given cause for concern with the packaging of products in the Apple store. KitGuru bounces the concern off a legal expert.

One of the best things about Apple is the simple and straightforward approach to products, design, messaging – everything.

Part of that is the idea that you can go into an Apple store, but products and not really have to think about compatibility etc. How many times has your ‘Apple geek mate’ said, “With Apple, it just works”?

Here’s a shot of the Apple store in Brent Cross that came into us earlier today, alongside a shot of one of many speaker products on display. Given what KitGuru readers know about the new iPhone 5 – the problem should be immediately obvious. It’s the clear, simple, black and white drawing in the bottom left hand corner.

The icons on many products are very clear and precise. The message is, "This product works with your iPhone". But after 12th September 2012, that may no longer be true. Today the store is relatively empty, but tomorrow will be different.

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Uncertain about the legal position, the reader who sent these shots in went as far as asking one of the Apple experts. The first lady was very circumspect and refused to answer a direct question directly, but a young guy at the back of the store spilled the beans. When asked “So if I were to buy this speaker, for example as a present for a friend, and they buy the iPhone 5 – would it work?”.

“Well, we can’t discuss details, but no, it wouldn’t work. You should wait for a couple of weeks”, he said with a wink.

Good advice.

But that does leave a different problem for Apple and its channel. If many of the speaker systems etc have the old style connector, but the iPhone 5 has a ‘Thunderbolt’ socket, then boxes labelled as ‘Works with iPhone’ won’t be correct. As you can see from the box shot sent in (above), the ‘it will work with your iPhone’ part is pretty unambiguous – which raises a question.

What will Apple (and its channel partners) do with the TONS of stock, globally, that is labelled as ‘Works with your iPhone’, but might not?

The best solution would be a recall and repackaging as ‘Works with old iPhones’. The cheapest would be sending out hundreds of thousands of stickers.

Either way, we had a chat with a man in the know and were told that if there are iPhone models that the speakers etc do NOT work with, then this should be made very clear at the point of purchase.

Apple store windows have been cleared - in advance of tomorrow's iPhone 5 launch.

KitGuru says: The companies that make these speakers etc, probably pull in a huge profit from doing business with Apple – so they are unlikely to complain no matter what Apple suggests. No wonder the new electrical accessories will be delayed (as reported on KitGuru earlier – click here for details). We expect nothing to get in the way of the iPhone 5′s domination of the available consumer spend.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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