New Yorker sues Apple for ‘misleading’ ads, Siri ‘fiction’

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By Arlene Chang /  15 Mar 2012 , 16:41

A New York man, Frank M Fazio, is suing California based Apple Inc for advertisements he claims are “fiction” and for being “misleading and deceptive” about its iPhone 4S’s virtual personal assistant, Siri.

Fazio has alleged that the commercials for the iPhone 4S had misled him to buy the phone for Siri but that the company’s advertisements for the phone are “fiction”.

In his lawsuit dated March 6, the plaintiff has mentioned, “in many of Apple’s television advertisements, individuals are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants and even learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs or how to tie a tie.”

However, according to the filing, the plaintiff says that after he purchased the phone last November, he realised the advertisements for the iPhone’s Siri was a “deceptive marketing campaign” and that Siri “does not perform as advertised”.

The voice based search application was introduced by Apple with the iPhone 4S. According to the company, the app enables users to send messages, make calls, set reminders, and more by just speaking to the phone.

According to the complaint, Fazio claimed that when he would ask Siri something as simple as directions, the talking phone would perpetually disappoint, telling him that it either did not understand what he was saying or came up with the wrong answer, after a long wait.

What annoys Fazio even more than the talking phone is how much money Apple has made from duping customers.

CEO Tim Cook talks about iPhone 4S's virtual personal assistant, Siri, at an Apple event. Reuters

He also cites a January 27 iPhone blog post, which states that Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found that approximately 89 percent of 37 million iPhones sold between October and December 2012 were iPhone 4Ss and that 42 percent of the phone’s users had cancelled their contract with other carriers to purchase the iPhone 4S.

“To the detriment of consumers, the bulk of Apple’s mass marketing and advertising campaign, fail to mention the word ‘beta’ and the fact that Siri is, at best, a work in progress,” the claim states.

The case that has been filed against Apple states that the Siri is shown to be scheduling appointments, finding local restaurants and even learning guitar strings while in reality the application does not perform on the device as it is advertised. The complainant also claims that as a result of the misleading messages about the iPhone 4S’s Siri feature, conveyed through its nationwide advertising and marketing campaign, Apple has been able to charge a significant price premium for the iPhone 4S.

The lawsuit filed by Fazio on March 6 comes almost two months after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak complained that Siri doen’t work “as well” and as reports of it being walloped by Android in Japanese make the rounds.

Only recently, Siri offended the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Northern California in a press release on March 12 detailed all the ways in which Siri is more evil than good.

The release stated: “Apple’s Siri “personal assistant” isn’t just working for us, it’s working full-time for Apple too by sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases.”

In an endorsement to the Android platform, Wozniak in an interview to The Daily Beast yesterday said that while he thinks Apple’s iPhone is the best smartphone, he wishes it did all the things the Android does.

He told Dan Lyons, that Apple’s new voice-recognition software was better when it when it was an independent application created for the iPhone.

“I used to ask Siri, ‘What are the five biggest lakes in California?’ and it would come back with the answer. Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings,” he said in the interview.

When Apple’s co-founder has complaints with Siri, who is to blame a disgruntled iPhone fan (or perhaps, an erstwhile fan) who has shelled out big bucks all for some voice love.


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