This year has been a busy year for Apple, they have had more product launch events than ever before! Notably, the new iPhone 12 and the Apple M1 core processor for Apple Mac have both been introduced to us in 2020. This is a huge step forward for Apple as they have previously used third-party core processors for all of their devices. There have been more rumours in the last few months that Apple could be launching its search engine to rival Google! The speculation comes about with adaptations in Spotlight Search on iPadOS 14 Beta & iOS, an updated Applebot support page and an enhanced Apple bot crawler. All of those could be hints that we may see Apple create its search engine in the coming year.

For many years now Google has been paying Apple billions to remain as the default search engine for iOS, iPadOS & macOS. The deal between the two technology giants means that whatever the Apple device you use, the Safari is always Google. Although users can simply change the default search engine by changing your Safari settings. The billion-dollar deal between Apple and Google may be coming to an end soon with UK competition and Markets Authority may look at aiming for the deal.


Why would Apple create a search engine?

A controversial relationship with Google, pressure from certain regulation and continued growth of Siri & iCloud are enabling Apple to create and unveil a brand-new search engine. There is a case for why Apple may try to rival Google in the search engine world.

Apple isn’t short of money and can live without Google’s money

As of now, Apple is the world’s richest and valuable company. They would like the billions of pounds that Google pay them each year for them to be the default search engine for Safari, however, in reality, they don’t need that money.

More investment into search

Apple is pouring its money into search, which is shown by their recent job posting opportunities for search engineers. The job listings include artificial intelligence, machine learning & natural language processing and more into all of their different services and apps.


This year Apple has recently updated its Applebot Crawler page

In the summer, Apple announced a huge update to its About Applebot support page. The updates are identical to those performed by Google to SEO & Webmasters. Here are some of the changes Apple have made to the support page.

  • Increased robots.txt rules
  • They have added some information that they don’t only crawl HTML pages, they render as Google does.
  • Added some content about search rankings and the factors that will influence how they will be ranking search results.


Why would Apple want to create its own search engine?

A search engine produced by Apple will be slightly different compared to ones that we frequently use like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. This is because Apple always wants to do things a little bit different from their competitors. The search engine is set to have an alternative purpose than just simply showing ads and mining data.

The apple search engine is likely to be a highly personalised information hub, something we haven’t seen before. The closest thing we have seen on the market already is the Google Assistant on Android. The search engine won’t have ads on, it will be fully private and will have detailed integrations with the OS. Some of the benefits of Apple creating its own search engine include

  • A weakening of Google’s grip on the digital market and will be a blow to their data mining and ad revenue.
  • They will now be able to promote their own products easily, which includes services that are currently struggling e.g., Apple TV+ and Apple News+
  • They will be allowed to promote applications in search results which will benefit Apple’s services.


The Impact on SEO?

If this new Apple search engine can capture enough of the search engine market, it will force digital marketers to optimise for their search engine. Based on the Applebot documentation, search engine optimisation tactics will remain the same as they do for Google. However, Marketers can expect the challenge of a whole new search engine to get their head around.

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