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Monday, March 26, 2012, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Siri used by 87% of iPhone 4S owners, study claims

Research from an unreleased study found that some 87 percent of iPhone 4S owners use at least one of the features offered by Apple's Siri each month, lending evidence that the virtual assistant is a notable differentiator from competing devices.

Consulting firm Parks Associates surveyed 482 owners of Apple's iPhone 4S, the only device to support Siri functionality, and plans to release the full study later this week, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the relatively high number of active users, the survey found that most users don't leverage Siri's full set of features and only ask the voice-recognizing service to complete routine phone tasks. Some of these functions, like placing phone calls and listening to music, were available in previous non-Siri iterations of the iPhone.

According to the study, about one third of users place phone calls, send texts or look up information daily with Siri while other services like playing music and scheduling meetings saw minimal adoption numbers with 32 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Users were split on Siri's email creation feature, as 30 percent of owners said they never used the service while 26 percent claimed to dictate mail almost daily.

The divide in usage is indicative of the study's finding that Siri is a polarizer, with some users saying it is “best thing since the invention of toast” and others seeing it as "very disappointing.” Overall, around 55 percent of users were satisfied with Siri, 9 percent were unsatisfied and the remaining respondents were in the middle.

Introduced alongside the iPhone 4S in October 2011, Siri set itself apart from competing voice-recognition services with its ability to understand normal speech patterns. Still technically a beta product, Siri allows somewhat natural interaction without requiring users to memorize a list of commands.


Apple's newest iPhone 4S ad featuring Siri.


Siri is not without its faults, however, and some users complain that background noise and accents sometimes flummox the service. For example, when it was first launched, Siri had three versions of English available: American, British and Australian. Apple recently rolled out support for Japanese, though performance was hit-and-miss.

Though many regions don't yet offer the full functionality enjoyed by U.S. users, Apple is constantly updating Siri to include a wider swath of its user base. A report on Monday noted that Apple's Siri development team may be working with ESPN to add sports scores to the service.