I've touched before on how Apple's ads can be, well, distort reality, but we now have confirmation from Apple's legal eagles that you shouldn't believe what you see/read/hear. This has lead Wired's Brian X. Chen to call anyone who believes the ads "a fool."
Here's the deal. Apple has filed a legal document (PDF, 425KB) which is an answer to a complaint filed by William Gillis, a 70-year-old San Diego resident who claims that the statement made by Apple in ads that the iPhone 3G was "Twice as fast. Half the price" was bunk (Gillis also complained of overall poor performance, dropped calls and dodgy 3G connections). Buried in that document is a very interesting statement (this is at the top of page 5 for those playing along at home):
16. 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.
So, Apple claims that is didn't lie, but that a reasonable person wouldn't be expected to believe what he or she came across in ads. In other words, Chen is right, you're a fool if you believe in Apple ads. Apple's defense here is that the claims made in the ads were puffery, claims that are considered subjective rather than objective. I'm not convinced, "Twice as fast. Half the price" sounds quantitative rather than qualitative to me.
Note: At the time the iPhone 3G was unveiled I questions the accuracy of the "half the price" claim. Just how many disclaimers must a tag line have before the ad department has gone too far in the quest for a catchy statement?
Apple was recently slapped down in the UK for running ads which the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled were misleading.