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3/13/2012
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Eric Zeman
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Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri

New York City iPhone 4S customer sues Apple, claiming Siri advertisements are misleading and that the service doesn't work as depicted in commercials.

Frank M. Fazio, from Brooklyn, N.Y., bought an iPhone 4S in November, in part based on commercials he saw for the device's personal voice assistant, called Siri, which Apple describes as a beta service. Siri listens to voice commands and then performs a number of actions, such as setting up calendar appointments, dialing phone numbers, and transcribing text messages.

Fazio believes he was duped. His real-life experiences with Siri don't resemble what's depicted in the commercials at all.

"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," read a portion of the lawsuit.

"In the commercials, all of these tasks are done with ease with the assistance of the iPhone 4S's Siri feature, a represented functionality contrary to the actual operating results and performance of Siri."

Fazio filed a lawsuit against Apple in California for false advertising, claiming that Apple's commercials are misleading and deceptive about just how capable Siri really is.

For example, Fazio said that when he asked Siri for directions, "Siri either did not understand what plaintiff was asking, or, after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer."

[ Apple's iPad update impresses, but it's not perfect. See New iPad: What Apple Left Out. ]

Fazio is seeking unspecified damages and says that Siri is obviously a work in progress and not the polished service depicted on TV.

From my perspective, it's hard not to disagree with Fazio. I have an iPhone 4S, and I find that Siri works less than 50% of the time. I'll ask Siri a question or issue a command, and more often than not Siri tells me that she didn't understand what I was asking her to do or simply fails to do it correctly. I've had Siri dial the wrong phone number, inaccurately transcribe dictated messages (despite my perfect diction), as well as completely time out or crash.

But I'm not going to sue Apple about it.

Apple clearly said from the beginning that Siri is in beta. The service has been in beta since its October launch. Apple hasn't said if or when Siri might ever leave beta status. Surely, Apple has been cultivating all the data generated by iPhone 4S owners who use Siri to improve how the service works. For example, Siri just recently learned to speak Japanese.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is about three months away. Since Apple didn't give us much info about new iOS operating system features at the recent iPad launch, I expect we're going to hear a lot more about iOS--and Siri--come June.

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gardoglee
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gardoglee,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2012 | 7:49:20 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Find the place on the television ads where it says that Siri is in beta. You won't find it.

Take the phrases used in the ads and have a number of different people each speak each of those phrases into a Siri enabled phone, and then compare the results to the results depicted in the ad. They won't match.

Then consider how the Apple attorneys will try to say that people should not rely upon Apple's ads to tell them what Apple products will do when they buy them without saying that Apple products will not do what their ads say they will after you buy them.
Thad McIlroy
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Thad McIlroy,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2012 | 8:51:35 AM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Anyone who has used Dragon Naturally Speaking knew that Siri would of course be limited. But then most people haven't used Dragon. Apple can proclaim "BETA" in 72-point type, but that wasn't the message. The message was Siri is Magic, and the media was more than pleased to play along.
Bkid
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Bkid,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2012 | 10:04:54 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're both on the same page. Why are you trying to counter what he's saying...when you're both in agreement?

But again, maybe I'm wrong.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
3/23/2012 | 7:31:17 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
I don't have the 4S and cannot address Siri specifically. I have used and tried various other voice recognition software in the past and wonder why I would expect Apple to have overcome what they all suffer from? Even as a human I sometimes ask someone to repeat something illegibly grumbled (poor dictation for Siri) or stated while I was distracted (microfone pointed opposite direction) or simply because I worked under aircraft for while and my hearing isn't optimum (I asked Siri something while cruising down the Interstate with window open at 75mph). Maybe when humanity leaves beta form, we can expect Siri (and other simliar apps) to as well. ;-)
k9huey
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k9huey,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/22/2012 | 9:21:22 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
"beta cars"?? Really!! That is like comparing a hammer to toothpaste.
Apple should have never made a commercial promoting the sale of a device where the key selling feature is something that is not finished and the commercial is an outright lie. Sounds like false advertising to me. That is still illegal correct?
ANON1246375404037
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ANON1246375404037,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2012 | 1:29:32 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Maybe SIRI should focus on English before trying Japanese.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Strategist
3/14/2012 | 4:54:51 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Perpetual beta as a business strategy. Apple's not the only one doing this, unfortunately.

Guess they missed the ethics class.

Here's my test: Would your grandmother, or any relative who doesn't work in IT, know what beta is? Or would they take the Siri commercials at face value?

Idea! Auto manufacturers should start selling us vehicles that are "beta releases". Put the disclaimer in clear language on the inside cover of the owner's manual so they'll be able to claim legal protection. Hey, it's your responsibility to read the owner's manual, right? Now, would you drive one?
herman_munster
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herman_munster,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2012 | 3:55:48 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
I think it's funny that Siri just learned to speak Japanese when it still hasn't learned English.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
3/14/2012 | 3:20:09 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Sure, perhaps they should say something in the Tv Ads. There may be that small type at the bottom explaining it, but I've never looked to see.

I've found that it does recognize some things I ask that I didn't expect it would, and didn't for some thing I thought it would. Well, it's still new. All the other systems are worse.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
3/14/2012 | 3:17:48 PM
re: Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Siri
Most of the time, Siri works wonderfully. But there are times when it doesn't. I expect that, and am realistic with my expectations. We do know that Apple is collecting, anonymously, questions and answers in an effort to make it better. But the way Apple works is not to constantly give tiny updates to fix some small problem, but to give a big one to fix many things, and to upgrade the underlying code all at once.

As it is a beta, clearly told, I don't think that anyone can properly complain. But, of course, some will always try to get something out of a company. It's called greed.
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