updated 06:30 pm EDT, Sat April 10, 2010
iPhone 4 alludes to Google split or souring
A discovery today in the iPhone 4.0 beta has shown that Apple has removed a reference to Google in mobile Safari. When searching in the browser, the auto-complete button in the on-screen keyboard has changed from "Google" to simply "Search." The actual search feature still uses Google.
Speculation exists that the change is a sign Apple may be switching to Bing for default search as a form of retaliation against Google for encroaching on Apple's perceived territory through Android. The two companies have been in a bitter feud over the smartphone market that has culminated in the creation of iAd to rival Google's potential acquisition of AdMob.
While possible, a search engine switch isn't yet borne out by any other changes. Alongside search, the iPhone still uses Google Maps as the source for its Maps app data and has a prominently featured YouTube client that was just recently upgraded for the iPad. Courting Microsoft to spite Google is also risky for Apple, as Microsoft hopes to take on the iPhone more directly with Windows Phone 7. Any change may simply be to generalize the search feature and make it clearer that other search options are available.
Apple chief Steve Jobs and his Google equivalent Eric Schmidt were recently seen together in a semi-public meeting that didn't show any visible signs of tension between either executive. [via Toronto Examiner]