back to article Apple slapped for dodgy ads

The Advertising Standards Authority has told Apple UK not to show an advert which suggested the iPhone contained "all parts of the internet" any more. The iPhone cannot access websites which use Java or Flash despite its claim that "all parts of the internet are on the iPhone". Two members of the public complained about the TV …


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  1. Peter

    Give me strength

    Wow 2 people one in their right mind believes what advertises tell them, they are paid to sprout complete bo11ox5. Who believes that if you don't have BT broadband your relationship will breakdown because your using non BT broadband? I might as well go trip in the foyer and make a claim whilst phoning Ocean finance to sort out my finances.

    Surely more people complained about that loan company advert with the retard wanting to watch the footie or the geordie "Josh, Daddys found your scooter"

  2. Anonymous Coward


    "cannot access websites which use Java or Flash"

    Seriously? I mean... seriously? Once again a phone tries to get above it's station. So it was too hard to get it working J2ME? I may be missing something here isn't that fairly standard on mobiles these days (and for years)? Well done Apple, proving yet again why MS are so dominant. btw, I'm not an MS fan or anything, just saying.

  3. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up





    <font size="7">BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</font>

  4. dervheid

    All they'll do...

    is put a tiny little text banner at the bottom of the screen, reading something like this;

    "Actual web browsing experience may not replicate pages fully due to web page incompatibility beyond the control of Apple / O2"

    Or something similar.

    Because it's not their fault, is it.


    (Legal Stuff. This is a personal opinion, not intended to cast any aspersions on any technical or other aspects of any Apple or O2 product or service)

  5. Jared Earle

    A bit harsh

    Damn, that's a bit harsh. Even if they had Flash and Java, they'd not do ActiveX or streaming DivX, so they can't browse the whole internet?

    I can see where they're coming from, but I think it's a little petty.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple lying *shock*

    What a surprise. Apple saying their systems do some thing they do not. How many times has this happened now? and how many times have they got away with it?

  7. CrackedButter
    Thumb Up


    This was obvious right from the start. As much as some of us hate flash or how much of a drain it is on battery life it is a big part of the internet and Apple can't ignore it. This can only help Apple in so much as people's expectations should be biased on truthful advertising now.

  8. Nick Palmer
    Jobs Horns

    Cue Webster!

    Go on, boy, give it some - you know you want to!

    Evil Steveil, just because...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Since when...

    ...were flash and java web standards compliant? A whole 2 complainants as well!!! The Jesusphone would benefit from java and flash - but that ain't Steve's problem per se...

  10. Daniel Silver badge

    Enough already

    Ok, enough with calling it the Jesusphone. I'm not a God botherer but this kind of juvenile namecalling is really starting to get on my tits.

    It reminds me of a 2nd grader who heard the big kids using naughty language and thought it would be cool to join in. Get over it and find something original to say.

  11. N1AK

    Apple Story Overload

    Of the top 18 articles on the site at the moment (by order on screen) 6 are Apple related. I know your a little less blinded by Apple's supposed wonder than most tech sites so at least they aren't all blind fanboyism, but I really don't have that much interest in Apple products.

    I hope I'm not the only reader of this 'tech news' site who doesn't want to know every little happening within the 'Job's reality distortion field'.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sat nav

    The O2 iPhone adverts also imply full sat nav - which the iPhone does not support.

  13. Peter Thompson

    Yes but...

    ..that inability to run Flash or Java isn't really a technical limitation per se. Someone high up in the Apple tree decided that those technologies were not going to be available.

  14. Head


    So much for the great phone, if it cannot even support flash.

    Up in flames it goes!

  15. dreadful scathe

    all parts?

    so not even all parts of the web then. The "internet" is a big place with lots of protocols (http, ftp, telnet, gopher, smtp etc.. etc...) and types of server software (tor, counterstrike ;), torrent - blah blah...etc... ) it's a much bigger lie than the ASA acknowledge.

  16. Hein Kruger
    Jobs Horns

    "all parts of the internet are on the iPhone"

    that would take some rather impressive storage capacity...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple bending the truth (to snapping point)

    Is the pope catholic?

  18. It'sa Mea... Mario

    Yet they allow ISPs to keep asvertising 'Unlimited' broadband...

    I bet more than two people have complained about that!

    Need an angry icon!

  19. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Halo


    In the full adjudication, it says:

    "Clearcast said, in order to assess the claims, they saw a demonstration of the iPhone and in particular the internet functionality. They said a number of websites were chosen at random and they appeared to work as described in the ad. They said, on the basis of the demonstration and the advertiser's assurances, they were content to approve the claims relating to access to the internet."

    So, even after a demonstration of the iPhone's internet functionality, where they concluded it accessed the internet as described in the ad - the ASA still upheld the complaint...?! What are they on?

    Since when did proprietary technologies used on a minority of sites, become synonymous with the open standards based 'internet' as a whole?

    I don't hear people complaining they can't access "all parts of the internet" on PCs without Flash or Java...

  20. Mark Broadhurst
    Jobs Horns

    Bit like the millions of colours screens

    Apples union with the truth and the law has never been a good one and only when it suits them.

    Why doesn't the iPhone support flash ? because apple doesn't want it to.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    internet != web

    This is all by the by, "all parts of the internet" should also include ftp, nntp, ssh clients etc. Or did they really mean all parts of the web (which they still got wrong).

    Alien because it looks a bit like steve jobs.

  22. Andrew

    How about stuff protocols other than HTTP?

    They're part of the internet too...

  23. It'sa Mea... Mario

    Re:My previous post..

    perhaps we should just make sure that more than two people have complained about the 'Unlimited' broadband adverts..


  24. A J Stiles

    But .....

    Java has now been released under the GPL, and there are efforts towards a GPL Flash player alternative (Gnash) which is known to work with YouTube. And there are instructions to create homebrew iPhone applications.

    So surely someone could cross-compile GPL Java and Gnash, and install the resulting binaries on an iPhone?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You're better off without it

    Sites which use java or flash are, by and large, using it to cause ANNOYANCE.

    Most of the world's worst web sites would be greatly improved if ALL browsers failed to support java, flash and any script which involves timeout coding.

  26. Ian Ferguson
    Jobs Halo


    I was told my iPhone would support Bluetooth standards - it duzzent.

    But in the case of this advert, I support Apple. Safari supports web compatibility standards admirably. By including Java and Flash as 'standards' on the internet, we are opening publishers up to the possibility of providing sites that ONLY work with these technologies. Do you really want to come to The Register and find you can only view the front page in a whizzy Flash format, and only comment once you've logged in with a Java applet? Uuurgh.

  27. bothwell
    Thumb Up


    "Ok, enough with calling it the Jesusphone. I'm not a God botherer but this kind of juvenile namecalling is really starting to get on my tits.

    It reminds me of a 2nd grader who heard the big kids using naughty language and thought it would be cool to join in. Get over it and find something original to say."

    I do like the way you use the childish phrase, "god botherer" in your very first paragraph. Original, pithy, mature... Clearly we can all learn from your standards!

  28. James Bassett


    Whilst I agree about the whole Flash thing (never seen the point, annoys the crap out of me and crashes the version of IE I'm forced to use at work) I think you'll find every Internet Banking site in existence uses Javascript.

    So do all those wonderful people above, who claim Javascript should be bannished to hell because it is not a "standard", do all their banking in the high street or are we just dealing with the usual bunch of blinkered ass-holes who like jumping on band wagons and high-horses because it's "cool"?

    Incidentally, I hate Javascript. But that's because I have to write Internet Banking systems using it and Firefox and Internet Explorer have a rather fundamental disagreement concerning what bits of Javascript should be implemented and it makes my life hell.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    If I complain about the blatant miss-advertising of internet services to the ASA, they don't want to know. They've refused to uphold any complaints regarding "Unlimited Broadband" when clearly it's not "unlimited", and (apparently) not misleading either!?

    I really can't see why this complaint would be upheld when other more serious and wide reaching ones aren't.

    I can only presume poor old Apple forgot to pay the appropriate iBung & the ISP's didn't.

  30. Neil Hoskins

    But seriously,

    It can't multi-task, it can't copy & paste, it can't take video, it can't mms, it can't be used as a modem with your laptop, it can't do bluetooth properly, it has limited browsing ability... Why can't the sodding thing just politely assume its correct niche in the market; that is, a very nice mid-range proprietary feature phone that runs limited proprietary applications (but not j2me, like the rest of the world). Why this evangelical insistence that it's something more than that?

  31. Peter

    Flash = Annoying Sites

    Look at the dilbert site, they made that all flash and it takes forever to load even on a decent connection.

    Thank goodness for

    Also should every site offer a non flash / non java site to comply with disabilities?

  32. Cameron Colley

    RE: all parts? el al.

    Indeed, it really winds me up when people talk about "The internet" and mean "The Web", or whatever. I can forgive the APs, but anyone associated with technology should know that "The Internet" is far more than a few websites.

  33. ShaggyDoggy

    Those 2 complainants

    ........ are the only 2 people who have got the ruddy thing to work so far

    boom boom

  34. Webster Phreaky

    @James Bassett

    Erm... you need to learn the huge difference between JAVA and JAVASCRIPT.

    It's JAVA the iPhone doesn't support - read the article. It has great JAVASCRIPT support, which means every banking site I've ever tried works perfectly...

    Clueless aren't you?

  35. dreadful scathe

    web n00bs

    For the web n00bs, who are happy to post in comments on el Reg :), have a look at and look at the Application layer protocols ;) There's more than just HTTP (and what gets me is the majority of you use POP3 every single day...sigh)

  36. Paul Strinati

    @Apple bending the truth (anonymous coward)

    Depends if he's got a Jesusphone.....

    Anyway, what's the matter with Flash, surely you need it for the camera to work in the dark?

    okay, okay, exit stage left....

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @Webster Phreaky

    "I don't hear people complaining they can't access "all parts of the internet" on PCs without Flash or Java..."


    Mayhap there are no complaints from PC owners because if we want Flash or Java we just download them for free and install them?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Javascript

    I would have hoped someone that developed Internet Banking systems would know that JavaScript and Java are not the same thing.

  39. Don S.

    @James Bassett

    Java Script <> Java.

    Surely this is the fault of the web site programmers who are too lazy or too incapable to provide proper "No Flash" alternatives to their sites.

    I really think it is time we criminalized us of the phrase "This site requires ... "

  40. Bill Gould

    @Neil Hoskins

    Here, have some Kool-Aid at the remote Apple compound and put on your jumpsuit. Everything will become clear...

    Once more with feeling... Fuck Apple.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    It doesn't support ActiveX? Thankgod!

    I wasn't going to buy one, but now i've read it doesn't support such a crap security breaching standard i think i'll go out and purchase one today! Thankyou Apple!

  42. Sean Baggaley

    There's a lot of FUD going on here.

    The ASA's flagrant misunderstanding of W3C standards notwithstanding, the lack of Adobe Flash -- Apple don't get to produce their own version without being sued -- and Java are hardly showstoppers.

    The lack of Java is, frankly, no great loss. It serves little purpose other than to annoy and it has so many "standards" of its own that complaining that a phone doesn't run one of them is hypocritical to say the least: which version of Java would you like it to have? J2ME? J2EE? (The iPhone runs on OS X, not Symbian or WM6.) How about one of the umpteen variants that still exist on embedded platforms? Or perhaps one or two of the older JVMs that are still installed by default on desktops?

    Would the real "Java" PLEASE stand up!

    @James Bassett: Javascript (officially known "ECMAScript") *is* supported on iPhone. Javascript has nothing to do with Java other than looking a bit like it at times if you squint your eyes a little and view it from a distance.

    As for accessing the whole Internet: yes it can.

    Just because you don't get FTP, WebDAV and other Internet apps supplied by default, it doesn't mean they can't be written. There's a full, proper OS in there with a *complete* TCP/IP stack. None of it is limited and there are plenty of third-party apps that let you do whatever you want. The only reason you can't run VOIP apps on it (in certain territories) is because Apple won't put them on its App Store, not because the iPhone can't handle it.

    (FYI: I'm the proud owner of a Nokia 2630.)

  43. Dave

    @James Bassett

    Javascript != Java Applet

    The end. Twat. Were you the judge in this case? 'Cause clearly he is a twat as well. Techinically, you _can_ reach all parts of the Internet (or at least all parts of the web, but anyone who knows the difference wouldn't pay any attention to this claim) it merely chooses not to display them quite the way that the auther intended. A bit like people visiting with Internet Exploder...

  44. Sean Baggaley

    Have a break...

    "You can't multi-task, you can't copy & paste! You can't take video! You can't MMS! You can't be used as a modem with your laptop! You can't do Bluetooth properly! You have negligibly limited web-browsing features!"

    [Unwraps Kit-Kat and eats it...]

    "You'll go a long way!"

    (For the young 'uns, here's the original 1980s ad:

  45. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    @James Bassett

    I am one of the people who thing the world would be a better place without javascript. I know, the article was about Java and Flash not Javascript. Very occasionally there is a good reason for some noncompulsory javascript. I have ye to see a reason for Flash and Java.

    I do not use internet banking at all, so I do walk into my nearest branches when necessary. I have heard good things about the HSBC web site, but not enough to get me to try it.

    It would be nice to send gpg signed emails instead of cheques. It would be nice to receive gpg encrypted statements signed by my bank - if they gave a real commitment not to use my email address for junk mail.

    A browser is too big and complicated to trust with my investments. I might be tempted if the site worked with lynx.

    Unfortunately using gpg securely requires a tiny bit of effort on the part of the customer, so 99% of them will never be able to handle it. How much am I paying so the banks can fart about with flashy web pages that encourage users to use security flawed software?

  46. Daniel Silver badge



    Hoist, petard etc

  47. Andrew Kirkpatrick


    I can "access" every book in a library, but doesn't mean I can understand them all...

  48. Colin Millar
    Thumb Down

    A tweak to the ad would do

    "All of the interwebs (except the really, really crap bits)"

  49. Messiah

    Reality Check?

    Clearly the Java issue is at the bottom of the list as to what the iPhone DOESN'T have and do! ...And its p*ssing me off!

    ...As for flash... clearly a love hate relationship. Try and see how evil Flash can be - its funny.

  50. James Pickett
    Jobs Horns


    As in lion's den, presumably...

    "enough with calling it the Jesusphone"

    Makes a change from iPhone, which, frankly, gets on my tits, as does 'i'-anything, really.

  51. Liam Johnson


    Does it support the Flash videos on YouTube though? That's got to make up a big chunk of the Interweb right there.

  52. sleepy

    Silly ASA

    The ASA is wrong to assume that Flash is part of the web. The web is not even partly defined by Microsoft, Adobe or Sun. The ASA is wrong to presume prejudices falsely instilled by dominant companies to the disadvantage of consumers.

  53. Snake Plissken

    Re: Have a break...

    If that video is in Flash, the iPhone might not be able to view it.

    Oh, the ironing etc.

  54. andreas koch


    had to try it straight away. rather posh, that site, plays without fail, though, and reasonable loading times(1-4s). It's a posh watch company, though, so what do we expect?

    To the original issue: the usual buyer (or rather on credit hirer) of an iphone seems to me either the paris hilton type female or the 'look at the diameter of the exhaust on my Subaru' prematurely postadolescent male. There is a high demand in these circles for youtube, youp*rn, p*rntube, eywhatever as well as all kinds of p2p that they don't wanna mummy to find on the home pc.

    so, yes, important bits of the internet.

    lynx can access all parts, too.

    the icoat, please.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Now we can go on an Ad dissecting rampage and invalidate 99.999999999% of all ads out there and if only 2 of us complain for each one, we are SURE to get rid of commercials ya!

  56. Robert Hill

    @Neil Hoskins

    Why the insistence it's something you think it's not???

    Because it has the single best phone user interface in the world, with the EXCEPTION of a lack of cut and paste. After Palm OS, Windows Mobile and Linux smartphones, I have a decent experience base to make that claim. Nothing compares to the visual interface of the iPhone - and when you use it for a while, you just think, "HUH - how come nobody else thought of that paradigm?" Moving a large slider rather than trying to touch small parts of the screen to answer a call or unlock it, paging through icons by letting the whole screen slide left and right (and even show physics by bouncing!), moving icons by pressing and watching them jiggle to show they are now moveable? You don't need a bloody stylus, you can do most things with one finger, and best of all NO freakin' cascading menus on a touch screen.

    OK, I miss cut and paste, but agree that it is a difficult thing to do well without a stylus or keys from a UI perspective. It hasn't made me want to throw it out the window however, like MS Mobile's menus small buttons did on my three HTC phones...

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Webster

    "...every banking site I've ever tried..."

    So you, Webster Phreaky, have an iPhone?

    I think I need to go and lie down.

    Black helicopter: Where's the real Webster Phreaky?

  58. Michael C

    definitions and misinderstanding

    Java is not the internet, nor is flash. It is an application API, not a website. The site loads, we can access it, but the application embedded in it, which is actualy compiled code, will not run wiothout that addition. You can access every website on the iPhone. Whether the site operator chooses to publish in the industry supported HTML versions, or have flash only support has nothing to do with the phone's ability to get there.

    btw, IE can not access the whole internet either by the ASAs determination, nor can any browser on earth for that matter, even with additions of flash and a hundred other plug-ins. In fact, IE can't be used at, but firefox, opera, and safari all can, not just apple's proprietary browser. Nothing BUT IE can go to anymore and access actual content without installing silverlight, which is available to noone else.

    You can get the whole internet, but you can not get all the CONTENT that's on it that uses PROPRIETARY protocols.

    also, flash IS coming to the iPhone soon enough, and I expe ct java might actually get there first. If the iPhone is more powerful that a PSP, and computers less powerful than that can run flash, the iPhone can too. It's just a matter of integrating it so it's not ALLWAYS running in the background.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it...

    that every time there is an ASA ruling on anything there are two main responses on El Reg...

    1) But they still wont go after the ISPs (I understand this)

    2) But this is totally wrong. I work in IT therefore I know all about these things and I am right. I don't care about what the general public think, they are wrong.

    I think you will find the ASA are not there to judge if an advert is WC3 compliant (You know what I mean by that), but if it is likely to mislead the public. As far as most people are concerned there are allot of websites they want to use which contain Flash and Java, and probably think FTP is a type of STD.

    We all know you probably didn't get laid until you were in your mid 40s, but this kind of willy waving "look how clever I am" is not helping you. It’s probably what caused that situation in the first place.

  60. James
    Black Helicopters

    Yet Virgin get away with it

    So, because it lacks two particular plugins, Apple get slapped down - yet Virgin are allowed to keep lying about their cable modems being "fibre optic broadband", on the pathetic excuse that their network backbone is fibre optic (just like every ADSL provider) and "only" the "final mile" connection is copper (again, just like every ADSL provider). Equally, "unlimited" is apparently allowed to include all sorts of limits, and confusing bits with bytes is OK, because that's "only" exaggerating the capacity by a factor of eight.

    I wonder how they'd react to a complaint about themselves, on the basis they clearly have no standards?

  61. JD Evora
    Thumb Down

    The worst is that you are NOT ALLOWED to install it

    Java and Flash are free yo download (Java is even GPL now)

    BUT the Apple's license terms for the SDK doesn't allow anyone to create a IPhone port for those technologies.

    I'm OK for not having java/flash out of the box, but banding people to install it????


  62. Spearbox


    Unfortunately, with an increase of market share and further public awareness, regardless of how minor, the direct result is people rip into for everything that they possibly can.

    The world is in recession but apple are booming. Expect jealousy, and expect people to slate them for more. This is just the beginning.

  63. Mike Groombridge
    Paris Hilton

    @Robert Hill

    can i say that you all your comments should be ignored for a serious use or the word paradigm.

    and using a big slider to unlock phone is "so much" easier then flipping my phone open or sliding it up like i do now sorry i'll stick to mW910i i can live with out the gizmos and i'm old enough to keep my porn on my laptop and no one cares.

    (hell no one cared if i had porn when i was sixteen.)

    they should of been done for the "really fast " bit as i'll never ever got the top 3g speeds with any phone or a 3G card and especially if it trns out it's really not quite 3g

  64. Ivan Headache

    So if there's no flash

    how come YouTube and BBC iPlayer work so well?

  65. Dave Lawton

    @James Bassett

    I think you will find that not all banking websites NEED Javascript, though the ones that don't need it, still have it to do twiddly bits. The Cooperative Bank is one of these, and they aren't the only ones. Their site doesn't need JAVA either, so provided your browser supports 128 bit https and cookies it should work.

  66. John

    Ev'rybody! Ev'rybody!

    The only reason for flash is Homestar Runner (and Strongbad), but I can watch those on my MacBook. Other than that, the biggest annoyance I have with my iPhone is that the SMS app seems to take ages to load and I'd like to have quicker access to the WiFi on-off setting and the brightness setting.

  67. andreas koch

    @Michael C

    just been to with my ie6sp2. Ok, didn't go first time. After changing the user agent to firefox 9.3 it works and i could sign up (which I didn't).

    I don't think they're using anything special (although I haven't looked through the website), they are just reading your agent string and redirect.

    Can some russian car maker design a light commercial vehicle, please?

  68. Robert Hill

    @Mike Groombridge

    Sorry Mikey, but do you actually KNOW what a paradigm is???


    And yes, using a big visual slider is a major UI issue on a phone that actually has a touchscreen, not some downmarket little clamshell that answers when opened. And you need that giant touchscreen to have a true web-capable phone, not some small little 1.5" screen that you can barely see text in. Like it sounds yours is...

  69. RW
    IT Angle

    Internet? Or World Wide Web?

    Bet it doesn't do FTP either or, to haul up a real oldie moldie, Gopher. Nor NNTP.

  70. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Must have been a long afternoon in the ad office...

    "OK Steve, we're going to do movie tie-in ads, worked for Orange, it'll work for us! Now imagine, a desert landscape, two suns low on the horizon, little figures in dark robes stand in front of an enormous iPhone mounted on treads, lots of robots lined up out fornt. Alec Guiness voice-overs "These little fellows" (waddya mean he's dead? Offer him double) sorry about that "These little fellows are Javas, they provide the best droids on the intern- oh. It doesn't? You're sure? OK OK OK, I got another one. Space battle! Lasers! Big jock guy, girl dressed in harem gear. Heavy drums on soundtrack DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM FLASH! Ah-ahhhh! Saviour of the inter- it doesn't do that either? What the hell does it do? It makes phone calls and the screen flips when you turn it sideways? Jeez, no wonder you need a decent ad campaign..."

  71. Adrian

    Good to see Apple don't give a fcuk

    Saw the ad on TV lastnight (Wednesday). Still "surfing faster than before" yabba yabba yawn.

  72. Anonymous Coward


    Thanks for the link! An absolute lifesaver.

    Here's hoping they keep it...

  73. Shell

    @ Ivan Headache

    BBC and YouTube provide Quicktime alternatives of all the content that the iPhone is able to decode. The iPhone does not support Flash. It's never likely too either. Anyone following the Adobe development blogs will know that Adobe currently have no plans, or real incentive, for making a Flash player for iPhone. Apple aren't pushing for it either probably because it would just drain the battery so fast (Flash is pretty intensive). As the Flash player isn't open source, nobody else can make a Flash player for the iPhone legally (without paying a hefty license fee to Adobe I guess). I'd love to see Flash on the iPhone, but I doubt it'll happen.

  74. Matthew Ellen
    Thumb Down

    @Michael C

    I hope you've read through the comments, noticed what dreadful scathe said and feel silly.

    Can the iPhone usefully access IRC, FTP, NNTP, or any of the other non proprietary protocols that are available through the internet?

    I doubt it. Apple has been caught on this one.

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