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Entries in iPhone 4S (12)

Friday
Jun152012

Siri Sued: Apple Accused of False Advertising

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bringing frustration with technology to a whole new level, a New York man has sued Apple, Inc. because he says the Siri feature does not work as advertised.

Frank Fazio filed a class action complaint against the California-based company, saying the Apple commercials for the iPhone 4S “conveyed the misleading and deceptive message that the iPhone 4S’s Siri feature, a so-called voice-activated assistant, performs useful functions and otherwise works as advertised.”

The complaint outlines several functions consumers are led to believe Siri can complete.

“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,” it reads.

But Fazio says outside of the commercial, that is not the case.

“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,” the complaint says.

Fazio, who is represented by Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, purchased an iPhone 4S in November and claims he would not have bought an iPhone 4S if it weren’t for the misleading commercials.

“The iPhone 4S’s Siri feature does not perform as advertised, rendering the iPhone 4S merely a more expensive iPhone 4,” the complaint reads.  “Plaintiff would not have paid the price he paid for the iPhone 4S, if he had not seen these representations.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of Fazio and “all other similarly situated consumers who purchased the iPhone 4S,” which the complaint says could be more than 33 million people based on the financial results Apple released for its fiscal 2012 first quarter.

Fazio has filed the complaint in an attempt “to halt the dissemination of Apple’s false and misleading advertising message, and to obtain redress for those who have purchased an iPhone 4S.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan132012

Beijing Apple Store Egged After iPhone 4S Launch Cancelled

Feng Li/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- It seems that a few bad eggs -- literally -- ruined it for all of those in Beijing who were hoping to get their hands on an iPhone 4S, which officially launched Friday in China.

Eggs were launched at the Apple’s flagship store in the Sanlitun area of Beijing after the American tech giant canceled the sale of iPhones over safety concerns.

More than 1,000 eager customers waited overnight in the freezing cold at Beijing’s Sanlitun Village outdoor shopping center anticipating the official launch of the popular iPhone 4S in China.

Among the crowd were reportedly gangs of scalpers who wanted to scoop up the first batch of the popular smartphones with the intent of reselling them immediately.  The gangs reportedly employed teams of migrant workers to stand in line overnight.  Movie extras were hired straight from outside the Beijing film studios and brought in by buses to get their hands on the phones, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Lines began to form Thursday afternoon outside the Apple’s Beijing flagship store.  The crowd reportedly swelled to as many as 2,000 overnight which apparently started to worry Apple employees. And they had every reason to.

Last May, during the launch of the previous model, iPhone 4, the same Sanlitun store was closed for several hours after a fight broke out between an employee and a customer.

When the stored failed to open Friday morning, the crowd erupted.  A person with a megaphone soon announced the sale was canceled, and some disappointed customers then began launching raw eggs at the store.  It remains unclear why some people in the crowd were prepared with shopping bags full of eggs.

Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu issued a statement saying, “We were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, the iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec032011

Siri Abortion Debate: ACLU, NARAL on Apple 'Glitch'

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple's Siri, the voice-activated "virtual assistant" in the new iPhone 4S, had no idea what it was saying. It turned out that while Siri can answer myriad spoken queries, it often stumbles if one asks for help getting an abortion.

Abortion-rights advocates objected, with some starting an online petition to make Apple do something. Soon, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) joined in.

"Although it isn't clear that Apple is intentionally trying to promote an anti-choice agenda, it is distressing that Siri can point you to Viagra but not the Pill, or help you find an escort but not an abortion clinic," said an ACLU blog post.

What's behind the rhetoric? Both groups said Siri—which Apple has promised to improve—is really not the issue.

"Do you know what a 'crisis pregnancy center' is—a CPC?" said Ted Miller, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America. "They don't provide abortions. They're run by anti-choice groups, and they try to lure women in to talk them out of getting abortions.

"Our main intention, our goal, is to make sure people are getting accurate information. We want people to know about these organizations that would promote themselves dishonestly."

Jennifer Dalven, who heads the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "The Siri issue is a symptom of a much larger problem. Why is it that we can have ads on TV for Viagra but talking about where a woman can get birth control or an abortion is taboo? This has real consequences. For example, it leads to sex education classes that just preach to kids that they should abstain until they get married but don't tell them about contraception."

Dalven said she did not doubt Apple's explanation that Siri was a work in progress: "We have no reason to believe that this was anything but a glitch."

Groups that have argued against legalized abortion have been quieter. Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News said some people might wonder if the late Steve Jobs—who was raised by adoptive parents—didn't program the 'glitch' into Siri which hit the stores soon after Jobs' death.

"Unfortunately, the answer[s] are likely elsewhere," he wrote.

The answer, according to engineers who know search technology works, is that Apple just got caught in the middle.

Siri's answers, they said, are limited by the sources it searches for information—services such as Yelp and Wikipedia. One engineer, asking not to be quoted, said it might well be that anti-abortion groups use the term "abortion clinic" on their websites, but gynecologists who are willing to perform abortions in private would be reluctant to advertise it.

Danny Sullivan, who runs the website SearchEngineLand.com, found that Siri didn't know that acetaminophen is the chemical name for Tylenol. "Is Siri also against headaches?" he wrote. "I don't think so, but it [is] easy to pursue one line of questioning in various ways, such as everything about abortions, and come away with a skewed view that Siri is pro-life rather than just buggy in general."

Apple, for its part, is sticking to the comment it gave to ABC News and other organizations on Wednesday: "Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn't always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov302011

Apple's Siri: Does iPhone 4S Voice Avoid Abortion Providers?

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple's new Siri -- the voice-activated "virtual assistant" built into the iPhone 4S -- has been hailed as a major advance in artificial intelligence. Ask it a question, on almost anything from soup to nuts, and it will give you an answer.

But at a blog called The Abortioneers, there's suspicion that Siri is not programmed to help people find abortion clinics. And the issue is spreading around the Internet.

"If abortion information is plentifully available on the interwebs, and Siri is pulling those types of requests from the web, why does Siri not have an answer about birth control or abortion?" asked the blog. "If you ask Siri where to bury a dead body, she seems to be full of ideas."

The Abortioneers say they experimented with Siri and found it ready to provide plenty of information on sex and reproduction. If you ask it for a phone number for Planned Parenthood, it will give you one. But several users said when they asked, "Where can I go to get an abortion?" they got answers like:

"I'm really sorry about this, but I can't take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while."

A user from Wisconsin reported the phone provided directions to two clinics 70 miles away in Milwaukee -- even though there was one less than ten miles away in Madison.

Five ABC News staff members with iPhones -- three in New York and two in Washington, D.C. -- also tried. When asked, "I need an abortion clinic," Siri answered three users, "I don't see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that."

The fourth, in the ABC News Washington bureau, about a mile from the White House, got this answer: "I found two abortion clinics a little ways from you." The closer one was listed in Lansdowne, Va., 27 miles away. The last one, in New York, was directed to a clinic 100 miles away.

We got more specific: "Help me find Planned Parenthood."

Siri: "I found 9 places matching 'Planned Parenthood' ... 6 of them are fairly close to you." A list followed.

We tried a different question: "Help me find a doctor who does assisted suicide."

Answer: "I found 13 mental health agencies ... 12 of them are fairly close to you."

We tried other things (Siri was quick to list 17 strip clubs and nine escort services when a female staff member asked, "Where do I find a hooker?" but it said, "I didn't find any adult retail stores" when she asked where she could buy pornography).

Meanwhile, a Google search -- "abortion clinic new york city" -- returned "about 19,900 results," though most were not actual listings of clinics.

Siri is far from omniscient, and voice recognition is an inexact science. Some users said Siri often strikes out when they ask very routine questions.

The system is also programmed with light-hearted answers to off-the-wall queries (If you say "I love you," it may answer, "You say that to all the virtual assistants"). Some of Siri's answers can be quite funny, and most people, whatever their position on abortion, will agree that it's not a funny subject.

Several users also pointed out that abortion is probably not the kind of thing for which Siri is designed. It's promoted as an easy way to get driving directions, send quick messages or find local shops. If a woman was pregnant and thinking of ending it, they said, would she really ask her phone?

Apple did not immediately return messages asking for comment. The New York Times Bits blog did reach Norman Winarsky, who co-founded the firm that developed Siri and sold it to Apple in 2010. He told them he did not know if Apple had made any deliberate decisions to avoid specific queries.

"My guess at what's happening here is that Apple has made deals with Web services that provide local business information," Winarsky told the Times, "and Apple probably hasn't paid much attention to all the results that come up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov032011

Apple: Yes, We Have a Battery Problem

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple concedes there is a battery problem with the new iPhone 4S.

"A small number of customers have reported lower-than-expected battery life on iOS 5 devices," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said in a statement. "We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life, and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks."

Apple didn't say what the bugs were or go into other specifics. The problem may not be exclusive to the new iPhone; instead, it may be in the operating system, iOS 5, which the phone shares with other Apple devices.

People who crowded around to buy the phone since last month's release have been reporting that the battery runs down remarkably quickly, sometimes in mid-conversation.

Technology analyst Rob Enderle said any new product is likely to have bugs.

"The 4S is a new phone under the skin," he said in an email, "and virtually every time you make a major change in a device like this the biggest initial risk is that battery life will crater."

In the meantime, various bloggers suggest turning off Location Services apps you don't need.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct312011

Apple Experiencing iPhone 4S Battery Problem

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Battery problems are reportedly plaguing the new iPhone 4S.

It appears that a flaw in the phone's location software is causing the battery to drain rapidly.

Several tech blogs suggest that users shut off the "Setting Time Zone" feature when not traveling to help conserve the battery life.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

BlackBerry Outage Prompts Class Actions

Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The fallout continues from the BlackBerry blackout earlier this month.

Class actions have been filed in California and Quebec, seeking refunds for the lack of service during outages that affected more than half of BlackBerry's 70 million users worldwide.

Additionally, gadget buyer Gazelle reports record numbers of BlackBerry customers trading in their devices for the new iPhone 4S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct182011

Apple Q4 Earnings Miss the Mark

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- In Apple’s first quarterly earnings call since the death of co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, the company disclosed that its earnings missed the mark for the fiscal fourth quarter at $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per share.

The figure is below the estimated $7.28 earnings per share that analysts were expecting based on a poll by FactSet.

To kick off the call, CEO Tim Cook said in an introductory statement, “The world has lost a visionary and amazing human being.”

“Steve inspired everyone at Apple to do extraordinary things,” he continued.

In July, ABC News’ Dan Arnall reported the company generated a second-quarter net profit of $7.31 billion on revenue of $28.57 billion, by selling 20.34 million iPhones, 9.25 million iPads and 3.95 million Mac computers. The earnings per share for the previous quarter was $7.79.

The bad news follows a record-breaking week for the most valuable company. On Monday, three days after its launch, Apple announced it had sold more than 4 million of the new iPhone 4s.

“iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend -- the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days,” Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Philip Schiller, said in a statement.

The company is planning a “celebration” of the life of Jobs, who died earlier this month from respiratory arrest brought on by a pancreatic tumor, on Wednesday at its campus in Cupertino, Calif.

Shares of the company closed at $422.24, up 0.54 percent Tuesday, but began to decline in after-hours trading.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct172011

Apple: iPhone 4S Sales Top 4 Million in First Weekend

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple says sales of its new iPhone 4S topped four million units this past weekend, its first on the market.

Sales of the iPhone 4S more than doubled that of its predecessor, iPhone 4, in that product’s first three days, the company said.

Apple's stock was down approximately 0.25% at midday Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct142011

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak on Line for iPhone 4S

KGO-TV(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- Steve Wozniak is probably the one who least needs to wait for the new iPhone 4S -- he did, after all, start Apple with his childhood friend Steve Jobs. But that’s exactly what he did Friday outside the Apple store in Los Gatos, Calif.

Some of the people who gathered around Wozniak asked him about the key to his success.

“Every measure of intelligence is how well you did on tests,” he said to one young man. “That means, how well did you know the same answer that everyone else in the class knew? There’s only one right answer, and that answer isn’t yours.

[WATCH THE VIDEO FROM ABC NEWS' SAN FRANCISCO AFFILIATE KGO-TV]


“Really, really, very few brilliant people realize, ‘I should think for myself, and start asking questions about things, and start trying to figure out things that are not necessarily the things that are in books.”

Don’t waste time, he urged the teenagers who gathered around him. Start a company.

The lines at Apple stores have been spectacles, and that, Wozniak said, is what’s attracted him to Apple’s major product rollouts.

“It made me think of when I was in college, waiting overnight to get tickets to see the Rolling Stones in Winterland. All night long, we’d stay up. So I’ve done it for all these events, even though I don’t have to.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio