iOS 6 preview: Siri knows sports

Siri, as introduced in iOS 5 on the iPhone 4S, is an able if not particularly well-rounded personal assistant. With iOS 6, however, Siri is expanding to the iPad, and adding sports to its repertoire. Now, in addition to keeping you in contact, on time, on course, and on schedule, Siri will also serve you up the latest scores.

Here's how Apple describes it:

Sports fan? Siri knows baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and hockey. Ask Siri for game schedules, scores from the current season’s games, or up-to-the minute scores from live games. Tell Siri to show you player stats and compare them against other players’ stats. Siri tracks team records, too, so you’ll always know how well your team is doing (or not doing).

Siri sports scores are only available to beta testers right now, but Apple did show them off during WWDC 2012, so we have some idea how they'll work. According to their presentation, Siri sports will support looking up information on:

  • Soccer: Italian Seria A, English Premier League, Dutch Eredivisie, Major League Soccer, French Ligue 1, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga
  • Baseball: Major League Baseball
  • Football: NCAA Football, NFL
  • Basketball: NCAA Basketball, NBA, WNBA
  • Hockey: NHL

For each of those sports, Siri can provide:

  • Scores
  • Standings
  • Schedules
  • Team rosters
  • Player stats

Taken together, here's what you'll be able to do with Siri and sports:

  • Ask "what was the core of the last Giants game?" and get a new scoreboard widget showing the results.

  • Ask "what is Buster Posey's batting average?" and get a new player card widget showing you the stats.

  • Ask "what are the national league standings?" and get a scrollable widget with up-to-date team standings.

  • Ask "who is taller, Lebron or Kobe?" and not only get both player cards, but a comparative assessment.

  • Ask "when is the San Francisco 49ers first game of the season?" and get a new schedule widgets giving you the data and time for the appropriate game.

And that's just what's been shown off so far.

Those sports sources, combined with Siri's almost Pixar-like persona and natural language, context aware search capabilities, should make it a surefire hit for everything from keeping up with games on the road to finding out who wins a bar bet.

iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19. For more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out:

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • This is honestly an utter waste of time. Not the article, but the feature. I'm using my phone as a communication tool, work tool, and phone. Useless facts like these do me no good at all. I mean really other than a trick to use at a bar, I can NEVER see myself using this feature.
  • Congrats Cobra, you make up MAYBE 10% of the population. VERY sorry to hear this doesn't appeal to you. Perhaps apple should have you on their board so you can provide them with such CRUCIAL information about the general population.
  • The info appeals to me. But not through Siri. It's faster to use an app. But based on how bad Siri is now for searching, I don't have high hopes that this will be any better.
  • So you're saying that 90% of the population really wants this sports feature added to their phones? Really? Of all the things that could have been added to Siri, THIS is what 90% of the population wants? My opinion is hardly a consensus of the general population. I'm merely stating that to me, this is a waste of time. I suppose you use your stocks app all the time too right? There are several apps I don't ever use that are stock on the iPhone now. This one just seems more useless to me than others. As stated by someone else, I can get this kind of information from other sources like twitter that won't require me to fight with Siri and repeat things to get it.
  • I mostly agree with you, but for different reasons. First of all; Siri will never be able to understand half the player names and teams you ask for, it can't distinguish names in my contact book. Your trick in the bar would never happen with all that background noise. Second; you're correct, an app or damn near anything else within arms reach will pull those facts faster than Siri, it's one of the slowest "assisting" tools on the iPhone. Other than Siri, I do love my iPhone though. But to do what they're trying to accomplish with Siri, we need way better hardware (I'm generalizing) and way faster mobile data speeds (and unlimited data plans again). Sincerely,
    -- Unimpressed