Can Siri Sports Create a Bigger Spark for Voice Search?

Time to teach Siri football? Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) developers have reportedly been working on adding sports scores to the service and the company may be partnering with Disney’s ESPN (NYSE:DIS) to do so.

This could be a huge catalyst for Apple because a new user survey suggests most people are not using the mobile personal assistant for more complicated tasks than making phone calls and sending texts. Almost 32 percent of users surveyed said they had never used Siri for playing music and 35 percent said they had never used it to schedule a meeting.

Apple wants to change that. An iOS developer had been working on understanding how Siri breaks down speech into recognized tokens, and that ESPN had an API for developers to access sports scores that could be helpful. ESPN is owned by Disney (NYSE:DIS), which is a partner in Apple’s iTunes.

The usage survey, by consulting group Parks Associates, found that 87 percent iPhone 4S owners used at least one feature of Siri each month. About 55 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with Siri, 9 percent were unsatisfied, and the remaining 36 percent said they were somewhere in between. The fact that Siri often fails to understand accents or commands said in even slightly noisy surroundings affects users deeply, the survey found.

If Apple can further develop the Siri feature, it should encourage more sales of the iPhone 4S. While the phone achieved record sales, many people are still using an iPhone 4, as the new model’s most prominent feature, Siri, held little appeal for some to upgrade. This partnership would also be a boon for ESPN, which could reach more users more often. It would also keep them at the bleeding edge of sports and technology. However, make no mistake: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android has excellent voice search apps. So, investors shouldn’t be surprised to see Disney spread the love to Google once they find their sea legs with Siri.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aabha Rathee at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at