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Siri the target of a second class-action lawsuit

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]





by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. drumrobot

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    Wait!

    You mean voice command systems aren't completely perfect? This is stunning! Stop the presses! Let's run around like headless chickens! (and if we run into a glass wall, let's sue the owner for $1 million!)

    If you don't like it, return the goddamn device. Don't wait until the return window expires before complaining.

  1. perthdave

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +11

    It's in freakin' BETA, people!!!

  1. facebook_Aryu

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012

    +12

    comment title

    First, Siri is NOT a Star Trek computer!

    Second, the TV ads have "Sequences shortened. Coverage varies." disclaimer under the Apple logo. To me, it implies it may take several attempts to get the desired results.

    Third, Siri is NOT a Star Trek computer. - It bears repeating. -

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    My God ..

    .. has failed me.

    Thank my God I can sue!

  1. smacker

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Only...

    ... in America...

  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    David Jones.

    If you set Siri up to respond to American English, then you better speak in American English. You probably have some ridiculous accent and are now making an international fool of yourself.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    @DaJoNel

    Ask a Texan if they speak American English. Ask a guy from Queens if he speaks American English. Ask a girl from Nebraska if she speaks American English.

    You'll get the same answer. Though it might not sound like the same answer.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    What the h*** is the matter with

    these people and their stupid lawsuits? I've used toothpaste for years that were supposed to prevent cavities and I still got cavities. Can I really sue those companies that made those claims? Why does Apple constantly have to attract all these jackass trolls? I can't believe the courts spend even a minute of time on such stupid cases.

  1. mrrwthird

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I first read the headline as...

    Siri the target of second-class action lawsuit.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    @perthdave


    It's in freakin' BETA, people!!!


    And where does apple state that? Oh, right, nowhere. Certainly not in the ads where they make it sound like the greatest tech in the world. Not on their web site. I believe some exec said it somewhere.

    Amazing how people here think advertising need not be close to truthful, because everyone should be required to rea various fan and news ites to find out all he info they should know.

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