updated 11:00 pm EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
LA man says he can't get it to work properly
A second lawsuit has been filed regarding Siri, the voice-capable assistant in the iPhone 4S, this time in Los Angeles. The suit alleges that Apple is overselling Siri's abilities in its TV advertising, echoing an earlier one filed by a New York City resident, claiming that Siri doesn't understand the plaintiff or provides the wrong answer after a long delay. The new lawsuit seeks "relief and damages" for "false and deceptive" representations, and has applied for class-action status.
The lawsuit was filed by a man named David Jones in US District Court in Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times, and alleges that the abilities shown in Apple's TV commercials -- people asking Siri how to tie a tie, read back messages and make appointments, find the chords to a rock song and locate a nearby locksmith -- are depicted as being easily accomplished "just by asking" Siri. Jones claims the commercials "diverge greatly from the actual functionality and operation of the Siri feature," the lawsuit says. The lawsuit does not explain why Jones didn't simply return the iPhone if he found it dissatisfactory, or whether he attempted to return it and was refused.
As with the New York suit, the filings do not go into detail about whether Jones conducted tests to independently verify that Siri's poor performance for him was easily reproducible, though he does claim to represent "fellow consumers." Also not known at this point is what role Jones' accent and diction may be playing in his interaction with the service. In the commercials, it is obvious that Siri requires clear, enunciated speech to most easily understand what speakers are asking.
The lawsuit may not contain much merit, as Apple has widely disclaimered Siri as being in beta. As is common in commercials, misunderstandings are not shown, though in at least one commercial Siri is seen to pause and say "let me think" before proceeding to give the expected answer. Response times in ads for all kinds of products are frequently shortened due to time constraints, but this is generally also noted in fine print.
MacNN has conducted tests duplicating the commands found in most of the TV ads and did not encounter any significant problems getting back similar answers as were shown in the spots, though we could easily confuse the service by adopting various thick accents, slurring our words or speaking too quickly. Apple has yet to formally respond to either lawsuit. [via LA Times]