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5 More Hot Apple Rumors


Baidu for the iPhone, a Mac Pro revamp, and bye-bye Google.


Previously we covered Apple TV, Siri-enabled iPads, and partnerships with Facebook (FB), Corning (GLW), and Microsoft (MSFT).

Here's what has surfaced in the rumor mill since then -- and things are really heating up before Apple's upcoming developers conference.

1. Apple (AAPL) will unveil Baidu (BIDU) for iPhone search. Talk of Apple offering China's leading search engine, Baidu, as on option on its iPhones started with a report by Bloomberg asserting that a deal was done. Later reports said Apple would unveil the news at its annual developers conference, WWDC, in San Francisco. It all certainly sounds plausible and nothing fuels a rumor like verisimilitude. Baidu accounts for just shy of 80% of all searches in China with Google (GOOG) taking up the balance. Google search will still be offered as an option on the iPhone but, it's certainly a step away from total dependence on Google, which has been growing its market share on the competitors' smartphones.

2. Apple will unveil a revamped Mac Pro. Apple will announce major software updates across most of its product lines according to 9to5mac. The majority of the upgrades will be for the Mac line, including its high-end Mac Pro, according to "reliable sources." Apple last updated the Mac Pro in July 2010. This news seemed to dovetail with earlier reports that Apple had begun pulling Mac Pro stock from its retail stores.

3. Apple will debut its own 3D maps app. Sources are saying that Apple will announce that it is replacing Google Maps next week at what clearly could be the most news-packed WWDC ever. This specific prediction can be traced to 9to5mac again, and it was further explored by the Wall Street Journal. It is speculated that Apple will will boot Google out when it debuts the iOS 6. While Apple always had full control of the iOS Maps application design, it didn't have control over the back end. Given the company's purchases of cutting-edge map companies Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly 9, it seems that bringing all ends of the maps app in house will be a slam dunk. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has been planing to oust Google Maps as the preloaded default maps from the iPhone and iPad for years.

4. Siri may exclude Google results. Google will take only a small financial hit by having its maps pushed aside, even though mobile ads associated with maps and locations are said to account for 25% of the $2.5 billion, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Things could be different if searches are treated the same. And with searches handled by Siri, the voice recognition feature currently in Apple's iPhone 4S and expected soon on the iPad (and, of course, announced at the WWDC), Google's results might be out in the cold. Siri relies on external search engines for its results. Google has reportedly anticipated this and has started its own "Siri-like virtual assistant" tied to the Google Knowledge Graph. In a Siri aside, there is another rumor that Siri might replace the iPad's voice dictation feature.

5. Apple will divorce Google as its default service provider. It's tough to narrow the sources for this rumor down to just one. Not only have people been predicting it for years, but the handwriting seems to be on the wall.
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