Apple may drop Google as its primary search engine, if the latest software update for the iPhone is any indication.

Last Thursday, Apple unveiled a new software update for the iPhone, iPhone 4.0 OS. One change that SearchEngineLand.com reported was that the Google search button in the iPhone mobile web browser was replaced by a generic search button. The search still goes through Google, but SearchEngineLand.com speculates that this could mean that Apple is looking to break away from Google in the update’s final release, which could have huge ramifications for search engine optimization (SEO).

Google and Apple have been on less-than-friendly terms ever since Google entered the smartphone market with the Android. By using Google as their default mobile search engine, Apple has allowed Google access to iPhone users’ search statistics and preferences, which could potentially be used to further the development of the Android.

Dropping Google for another search engine wouldn’t necessarily help Apple, though. Bing and Yahoo, the two leading search engine competitors of Google, are both tied to Microsoft, which also has a competing smartphone. Analysts have predicted that Apple will create its own search engine so it doesn’t have to rely on competitors, but that could take a few years to develop.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.