Apple in Court Case: No Reasonable Person Would Believe Our Ads

It’s hard to deny the appeal of Apple.  The Cupertino darling has the best brand image according to recent studies and its logo even has subliminal effects on viewers, according to one study.  Some have criticized or merely analyzed the so-called “snob-effect” that comes with using Apple. 

However, after years of ads attacking competitors that could easily be said to stretch the truth Apple’s penchant for wild claims is finally catching up to it.  Two iPhone commercials were taken off the air in the UK for false advertising, after claiming the iPhone could browse all the web (it can’t) and showing it loading webpages faster than it really can.

Inspired by the UK rejections, William Gillis, a San Diego resident and disgruntled former iPhone user, has filed suit against Apple in Californian court over Apple’s claims that the iPhone 3G ran “twice as fast for half the price”.  He says this is blatant false advertising.

Apple filed a nine-page legal response which contained a rather unusual passage, which basically equates those who believe its ads to fools.

Apple states, “Plaintiff’s claims, and those of the purported class, are barred by the fact that the alleged deceptive statements were such that no reasonable person in Plaintiff’s position could have reasonably relied on or misunderstood Apple’s statements as claims of fact.”

Michael Ian Rott, Gillis’s attorney points out that a company saying that you would have to be stupid to believe its ads is a rather strange tack.  He says that there have been five lawsuits about the iPhone 3G’s  speed, which hope to gain possible class action, but his client’s is the strongest, as evidenced by the fact that Apple has not filed to dismiss it, unlike the other suits.

He states, “Ours has the most teeth and the most legs to it.  If there was any way that Apple could get out of it, they would have filed a motion to dismiss here, too. Their M.O. has been, ‘File motion to dismiss and let’s get out of here,’ but they haven’t done that with ours.”

The iPhone 3G speed problems stem from underlying hardware issues, which according to AT&T result when one of the communications chips on the iPhone, developed by a third party, requests too much bandwidth.  This can quickly lead to service outages in areas with lots of iPhones.  Thanks to the 2.2 firmware update, the problem appears to be at least partially fixed, getting fewer dropped calls.  However, there have been numerous complaints about iPhone reception and speed, indicate that something may still be amuck.

“BarJohnG” writes in the Apple forums, “I keep waiting and hoping for a fix.  So far the reception is still lousy. I can’t believe that Apple is not fixing this issue but merely trying to mask it and keep the customer confused by showing more bars than there is signal. When you look at the logs it is shocking the number of crashes and problems with the phone and OS.”

When it comes to customers believing Apple’s claims about the iPhone and its other products, though, maybe they shouldn’t be so quick to believe them, according to Apple.