back to article Apple: We never said Siri would actually work in the UK

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has quashed a complaint from a fanboi disappointed by Siri's lack of UK knowledge - and said the punter had above-average expectations compared with what it would expect from the "average Brit". Siri, the voice-recognising virtual assistant on the iPhone 4S, is unable to direct users in …


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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Cash grab

Just some greedy fool trying to get some apple cash.

All the info was there in the advert if he chose to pay attention. It's hardly apple's fault that the idiot didn't read/understand the disclaimer.

Silver badge

Re: Cash grab

It's about time advertisers like Apple were prevented from having misleading adverts with caveats. It is not fair to say "didn't you read the small print?" Small print that I struggle to read on a 50" screen, so God help anyone on normal screen.

"Sequence shortened" - fuck off! Show it properly or don't show it al all (Apple is not the only guilty party here).

"Unlimited" - but it is limited.

"May not be available in all regions" - then don't show that advert in that region!!!!

So this guy might have been pushing his luck if he wanted cash out of Apple, but too many advertisers are relying on caveats to allow them to imply a service or function everywhere when that isn't the case.

Silver badge

@ Nergatron

Bollocks. I've not read reviews (usually too many conflicting opinions to bother wasting time), I've just watched the cool stuff on the adverts broadcast IN THE UK. If I wanted it to do this stuff for me too, I would be quite annoyed that an ADVERTISED feature is not available. It's really quite simple, if several steps have been omitted to make a smoother advert (re. the app store one), that's one thing. But if a featureset just plain isn't available, that's called lying. It's called placing these wonderful images into the minds of punters, grabbing their cash, then giving them the finger by pointing to some disclaimer. If the features are not available, they should not be advertised. It's really that simple.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Nergatron

"...I've just watched the cool stuff on the adverts broadcast IN THE UK...

...If the features are not available, they should not be advertised. It's really that simple."

And what the ASA have found is that at no point in any of Apple's ads do they claim Siri can do things it cannot. It does in fact do everything that is shown on the advert in the UK. I have literally just watched it and tried to mimic everything shown and have done with a 100% success rate. At no point have Apple, or any of their channel partners, stated that the feature set is comparable to the US feature set. In fact they have repeated this publicly extremely often. Now I'm not actually a fan of Siri as I feel that it's not mature enough, I put it to you and other that your moral outrage is aimed squarely at who this is and nothing to do with the circumstances or actual facts of the matter. Swap Apple for Google or Microsoft and you'd be busily defending the decision. Hypocrisy is a contemptible trait.


Re: Cash grab

"Just some greedy fool trying to get some apple cash."

hardly - The ASA don't provide any compensation to consumers. The most they can do is tell advertisers that they've been naughty boys and girls and they mustn't do it again!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

utter tripe

My non techie family thought that they could use the iphone4 in this way... I thought that they could too but , being techie I'm on forums and mailing lists so knew the real answer. Shame on apple, even mote shame on the ASA. now a pointless bunch of gimps.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: utter tripe

"Shame on Apple?"

For what? Your families inability to understand that a feature shown in an advert for the latest iPhone 4S does not mean it is for the 18 month old iPhone 4?

Where in the advert does Apple state Siri is an iPhone 4 feature?

Tim Hale 1

Re: utter tripe

Wow, ten down-votes for saying Apple shouldn't be hung for not saying the iPhone 4 didn't have Siri. The anti-Apple brigade sure do like an Apple story, don't they?

I too have seen the UK Siri advert on TV recently and it doesn't show anything that it can't actually do in the UK.

Personally, I'm not all that taken with Siri partly because it doesn't have the US features at the moment.

The funny thing is, in general, Apple tend to focus on what the device does whereas other manufacturers tend to show a list of specs and leave the reader to infer what it can do. That inference can cause problems, for the customer, when, because of some creative spec listing, the whole is slightly less than the sum of its parts.

As a hopefully non-contentious example some routers and wi-fi access points are described as dual band 2.4/5GHz but you have to look very closely to see they are simultaneous dual band 'Or' rather than 'And'.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Apple does nothing wrong

You commentards get all indignant and pour on the anger anyway

You guys are comical

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple does nothing wrong

But you're one of us, fellow commentard.



Business as usual for the ASA. Trebles all round!

Thumb Down

My first two questions did it for me

I gave up on Siri on the day I got my new phone. I kept the first question pretty simple, but it still failed.

"Where am I?"; "I'm sorry but I can only provide location information in North America".

Oookaaayyyy... something even simpler then:

"What time is it?"; "I'm sorry, I don't know what time it is in <the name of the street I was on>".

So, it wouldn't tell me where I was when I asked it straight, but it /did/ tell me where I was when I asked it a different question.

Chad H.

Re: My first two questions did it for me

Seems to be able to tell the time just fine.

Mickey Finn


This is fascism (aka corporatism) in action…

Big business, government and it's quango apparats ganging up on the people that pay them to exist.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fascism


Fascism and Corporatism are different things.

Further clarification is available online.

Thank you.

Richard 120

Re: Fascism

You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means

Mickey Finn

Re: Fascism

If Mussolini drew the comparison it is good enough for me sir.

"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power."

Whatever it is called, the effect is the same.


Re: Fascism

You don't have to look online - just ask Siri. Oh wait...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Just use voice actions on Android

It works everywhere, is faster, more comprehensive than Siri and less gimmicky...

Coofer Cat

Never mind the complicated stuff ;-)

"remind me to buy milk after work" - I haven't seen this actually do what it does on the Ad. Things like "tell my wife I'm going to make it" don't work either. Anyone with an iphone managed to do the things they do on the ad? The ASA should be all over this - a reasonable person would expect you can do the exact same things as shown on an ad. Never mind getting all advanced asking "where am I?" and the like!

All that said, I've got an Android, and things aren't all peachy there either, but the main difference there is that we don't have a smart advert telling us that those things work when they don't.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Never mind the complicated stuff ;-)

Yes, that does work for me in the UK. The reminders, reading/recording message etc. All works. Just not lookup local business information.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Never mind the complicated stuff ;-)

Same here, I'd never asked for a reminder when I leave work before so I have just tried it & Siri asked me to put my work address on my contact details so it knew where that was.

Seems fine to me, I was even surprised how well the dictation function worked a few days ago when I used it to write a couple of sentences in an email, I think it got one word wrong out of something like 25.

Much as I hate to see actual facts get in the way of a good slagging match, the advert doesn't say that you can use Siri to find local businesses, it says it "can help you find stuff", which it can (stuff!=everything).

If you go to Apple's US & UK websites, you can watch both the US and UK versions of the Siri advert and see that the localized search bit is cut out of the UK version. I think what we have here is someone who has seen the (US) launch video or seen a (US) advert trying to pin the blame for his own stupidity on Vodafone/Apple.

Oh, and I don't think anyone has noticed the irony, but this is an Apple vs Apple User fight. You can't label all iPhone users as idiot fanbois and then stand up for them when they make stupid mistakes like this, you're supposed to laugh at them and point.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Bait and switch

Advertise heavily, add tiny little *


Yeah, but...

...even if the ASA *had* ruled against Vodafone/Apple, what would have changed? Nothing. All they would have said is for Vodafone/Apple to stop running the advert.

Ben Rosenthal

And if you don't have a BBC accent straight from the 1900's, you're saying it wrong too.

It's been pretty hilarious watching my companies middle managers try Siri out for the first time so far.

Evi on the other hand understands what I'm saying extremely well, although it still hasn't been able to comply with a single request for me yet.

I think all the voice functions out there need a bit longer in the oven.....not I'd ever use them in public, I'd rather be caught trous down and hands full than be caught talking TO my phone :D

Mickey Finn

Moderator attention….

Mussolini (he who invented modern fasism) said: "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power."

Not the actual merger, that is communism, rather the merger of their power.

So I state again, that this is an example of fascism (aka corporatism) at work.

The corporate businesses, the governments and their apparats (which include quangoes) invariably side with each other when deliberating issues where those that pay them are concerned.

NB: fascism has nothing to do with "the far right" as the BBC and other assorted lefties like to state.

Big Brother

Re: Moderator attention….

From Google:



An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

(in general use) Extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

But yes, I guess it does make sense to let a fascist tell you what it means, rather than take an objective stance.

Mickey Finn

Re: Moderator attention….


So because Google tels you that fascism is extreme right-wing, authoritarian, of intolerant views or practice, you are somehow taking an objective view?

Pehaps you should understand where "right wing" comes from and how that phrase was debauched, and then you might understand who have the intolerant views or practice.

The term is derived from the 18th century French court, where those who sat to the right of the King were of the view that there was nothing that could be done for the poor and wretched that they could not do for themselves, whilst those on the left thought that something must be done.

During the 1930's, Germany was a hotbed of radical politics, and the communists who wanted (as in Russia) to control everything, the people, the land, the means of production etc., whilst the national socialists thought that allowing businessmen to run their businesses, and farmers to farm their own land would be more effective for building the socialist nirvana… They were both left wing, they both wanted to control others. They both turned out to be progenitors of the worst and most violent century in human history.

Meanwhile the "right wing" got on with their own lives, and tried to ignore what was coming at them.

So fascism is not "right wing", bearing in mind that the National Socialists were both fascist and socialist, but they became labelled by the communists as "right wing" because they were slightly less economically radical than them.

Anyway, fascism and communism are just economic philosophies, but fascism has been more successful because most of the governments in the world are essentially fascist, even the Chinese failed economically until they modified their system of government from Mao's strictly communist regime, to Teng's textbook fascist system.

For a real example of a non fascist and oddly right wing nation, one really has to go back to the early 1930's before Roosevelt nationalised the dollar, after that even the right wing USA started to move to fascism.

As for intolerance, that is usually practised and theorised by politicians either in plain clothes (or in frocks… religious types) who want to control others… Ditto authoritarianism… And most of those are of the left, perhaps Buddhism being the rare example of non-interference in other's business (or right wing).

Which leaves us with Mussolini (you know, he who invented modern fascism) and his comment.

Oh and if you want to label the "right wing"… Libertarian is acceptable, fascist is NOT.

M Gale

Right Wing Good Left Wing Bad

The only thing the nazis thought "must be done" about the poor was either using them to build roads or giving them a free shower session, yaknow?

The BNP is right wing. So is Combat 18. Just to throw some perspective on the above post.


Re: Moderator attention….

"So because Google tels you that fascism is extreme right-wing, authoritarian, of intolerant views or practice, you are somehow taking an objective view?"

Oxford Dictionaries Online main definition:

an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

Dazed and Confused
Silver badge

It just works

Isn't that the slogan that the fanbois always like to trot out?

So now its official,

It just doesn't work and you're not entitled to think it should

Mickey Finn

Re: It just works

Despite the fact that I have a good number of iDevices (five), I always thought that it was very easy to misconstrue that rather silly advertising line, it depends where one puts the accent, doesn't it.

It cannot be a brag to suggest that your products just work, it could mean that with just the slightest bit of tweaking or through heavy use, that they will fail to work.

My New Handle

Unlimited Stupidity of the ASA

This would be the very same ASA that deemed the total corruption of the word "Unlimited" by the mobile network operators was perfectly acceptable. One has to wonder who exactly pays the ASA's salaries. Would it be us, the general public, or the mobile network operators?

ASA = Fuckwits (and that is a perfectly apt description of the service being provided)



Have Apple said if this will ever work in the UK?


Weasel words

It's entirely reasonable to expect that a device should be fully functional in the market in which it's sold. In cases where this is not possible, there should be a specific disclaimer.

I'm very disappointed in Apple, they are the new Microsoft.

Tony Paulazzo

>All the info was there in the advert if he chose to pay attention.<

I checked their page out and found this is big bold text page centre:

>It understands what you say.

Talk to Siri as you would to a person. Say something like “Tell my wife I’m running late.” “Remind me to call the vet.” “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri does what you say, finds the information you need, then answers you. It’s like you’re having a conversation with your iPhone.<

In tiny light grey text at the bottom of the page:

>Siri is available in Beta only on iPhone 4S and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.<

Almost like they're trying to hide the fact - so yes, the info is there, but a lie of omission is still a lie. Why not put the 'but' along with the main body of text?

>"May not be available in all regions" - then don't show that advert in that region!!!!<


Oh, and by the way, I just asked (using voice) my Android phone for the nearest McDonalds and it brought up a local map showing about four McDonalds, with SatNav turned on, so I guess, in this instance, Google (also an American based company) wins. Suck it!

(Saying 'the nearest pub' brought up a search page with 'the good pub guide' No 1 on the listing).

Tim Hale 1

No. No, it doesn't

And now, the version from the correct web site. Facts, eh? Funny old things; work better when they're right. From the UK Apple site:

It understands what you say.

Talk to Siri as you would to a person. Say something like, “Tell my wife I’m running late” or “Remind me to call the vet” or “Do I need an umbrella?” and Siri answers you. It does what you say and finds the information you need. And then it hits you. You’re actually having a conversation with your iPhone.

Andy Christ

If you are just looking for a local business...

... you can speak your request through any iThingy's Google app, no need to use Siri, especially while it is still in beta.

Toastan Buttar

Can it direct me to floor 11?



Michael Hutchinson

So the ASA have basically said...

...that I can advertise my product as doing everything, just so long as I include the footnote that "This product may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area."


I understood, like most "early adopters" at launch, that siri was in beta and not all features were in play yet. The only problem is, that was October, and since then we've seen zero progress - no further "beta" releases, no opportunity to feed back on the current beta, no road plan or indication of when we'll see a final product. So on balance, yep, Apple have disappointed me on this one.

Andy Fletcher

I don't get this at all

Vodafone were able to pass the buck to Apple? When Vodafone is the publisher? So.....I can post what the hell I want on the web and if anyone questions the content I can refer them to the source of the material. That's one helluva loophole for anyone wanting to post hate, porn or whatever right there. Just when I thought a had a tenuous grip on liability law I read something like this.


"The ASA concluded that the complainant's expectations were too high."

He expected a fully usable Apple product.


I cant help it but...

Every time I read an article about the iphone4s and siri, I cant help but think about a story I once heard about a car being imported into America from Japan.

*The car was called the "Sarrion" which is not a bad name for a model of car, and it got its inspiration from names like "mustang". The Car was supposed to be called "Stallion", but due to but due to a misunderstanding due to accents, the Stallion became Sarrion. ..

I just cant help but think Siri got its name in a very similar cock up!!

*I dont know if the story is indeed true, but it was featured on an episode of "top Gear". I have not been able to confirm it as true in the 5 min of research I did before posting.... but I do really hope it is true !!

Andy Fletcher

Re: I cant help it but...

True. Although you meant the Mitsubushi Starrion. Buddy of mine in the car import trade told me the story years ago.

M Gale

Re: I cant help it but...

Also read up on the history behind the name of Donkey Kong. Quite the complex interplay of translation cock-ups happened for that one.

ian 22

Is Siri limited to actual English? Damn.

We Scots arrre (err, are) NOT PLEASED!

May ur lum reek wi' ither folks coal. Comprehend that, Siri!

Mr Young
Thumb Up

Technology - ye

All this fanboi hate and it just occured to me how long I've (vaguely) followed voice recognition technology. Now everybody is frothing at the mouth because of regional differences, and this is when the whole world is your market! I wonder if this is an actual viable example of it starting to become 'normal' to talk to a computer, or is it more normal talking to yourself? Oh - and I think the ASA is far too polite about its proper job! Since I get adverts stuffed in my eyes every day (like most other people ) and it's not difficult to find some bullshit or disclaimer or whatever, Id say the ASA needs to practice kicking ass a bit more!


Re: Technology - ye

Its nothing to do with regional dialect, the advertised feature just plain doesn't work in the UK.

Someone suggested that he should have asked in the shop, but as Vodafone themselves actually believed the BS coming from Apple, it stands to reason the average mobi wallah at carphone warehouse would believe it as well

Mr Young

Re: Technology - ye @Arclight

I actually tried to think before i posted* and said "regional differences"? As in not mentioning "understanding dialect"? That's a lot more difficult!

*Found it difficult but making progress

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