March 12, 2012 at 5:03 PM ET
Siri — the personal assistant feature built into the iPhone 4S — is the butt of many jokes, thanks to its tendency to misunderstand some folks. But because of that very habit, it is now also the subject of a lawsuit against Apple.
The Wall Street Journal's Joe Palazzolo reports that a man by the name of Frank M. Fazio is suing Apple for "false advertising." Fazio's lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in California on Monday, alleges that Apple's commercials offer a "misleading and deceptive message" about Siri and its capabilities:
[I]n 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. 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.
As Palazzolo explains, Fazio claims that Siri is "far less responsive in real life." According to his lawsuit, Siri often either fails to understand what he says or responds with an entirely wrong answer after a "very long wait time." His lawsuit asks for unspecified damages.
It's worth noting that Fazio's lawsuit points out that Siri is "at best, a work-in-progress." This isn't exactly a silly statement considering that Apple has explained, on more than one occasion, that Siri is considered to be in "beta." This means that it is still in the development phase, not a "final" product. (It also means that every single iPhone 4S owner is technically testing software for Apple.)
Given that designation, many people might almost expect to encounter strange quirks and behavior when it comes to the virtual assistant — many people other than Fazio, that is. As it is, Siri can be remarkable, and it can be frustrating. And while the frustrations may not be worthy of legal action, they probably shouldn't be glossed over, either.
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