For years it has been reported that Google pays Apple a significant amount to remain the default search engine on their products. This looks like it may be about to change.
In 2015 SEOs started noticing ‘AppleBot’ in their site log files. Apple have also added some information on ranking factors to their AppleBot support page. In July 2020, the UK Competition and Markets Authority took aim at the pre installation of Google creating a significant barrier to entry for rivals.
Overall, Apple don’t need financing from Google. They have also been seen hiring a large number of ‘search’ related employees. Their AppleBot crawler has been crawling sites daily and if Apple do move forward with their own search engine it’s likely to influence SEO strategies.