updated 07:05 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Brooklynite claims commercials 'misleading'
A New York man is suing Apple for false advertising, alleging that Siri's real-world performance and capabilities fall short of what is depicted in the commercials for the service, the Wall Street Journal reports. The suit, filed earlier today in California, is led by claimant Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, who says that Siri is "far less responsive" in real life and uses as evidence the fact that the program often didn't understand him or "after a long wait time, responded with the wrong answer."
Fazio, represented by Robbins Geller, is hoping to turn the lawsuit into a class-action against the iPhone maker, saying that his primary reason in buying an iPhone 4S in November was to take advantage of the Siri technology. In the complaint, Fazio says that in Apple's TV ads, "individuals are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even learn the guitar chords to classic rocks songs or how to tie a tie." In the ads, he says "all these tasks are done with ease ... a represented functionality contrary to the actual operating results and performance of Siri."
Fazio's suit fails to note if his inability to make Siri function as expected is limited to just himself, or if he is claiming to have conducted tests with a sample group large enough to quantify his claims. In the commercials, it is fairly obvious that Siri requires clear, enunciated speech in order to most easily understand what speakers are asking. The suit does not provide a sample of Fazio's natural speaking voice, which might be very heavily accented and thus reduce Siri's functionality.
The suit also fails to note that Apple has clearly marketed Siri as being in beta, though this is not obvious in the television ads. Apple's commercials do have a disclaimer that all features may not be available in all areas, though this likely refers to the inability of Siri to be able to retrieve full information in all regions or languages. As with most commercials for other products, the wait time between the request and reply appears to have been slightly shortened, though in at least one spot Siri is shown to reply with "let me think" before supplying the correct answer.
Fazio calls the commercials "misleading and deceptive" and asks for unspecified damages, calling Siri "at best, a work-in-progress." Quick tests with Siri voicing the same commands shown in some of the commercials show the service to be very responsive, able to fulfill all the requests (though Siri was, as one would expect, somewhat slower returning answers when relying on 3G than it was using Wi-Fi).