Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Switch: Unnamed sources inside Yahoo (YHOO) tell Re/code that the Internet pioneer is looking to unseat Google (GOOG) as the default search option on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhones and iPads. Persuading Apple to move to Yahoo is said to be a key strategy of YHOO CEO Marissa Mayer, who is looking to reinvigorate the struggling online portal’s profile. Yahoo has reportedly created presentations meant to sway Apple management, but hasn’t actually made the proposal just yet. However, Mayer is said to have quietly broached the topic with several ket Apple officials, including head designer Jony Ive. To “grab the pole position in iOS search” is something that Mayer “wants it very badly,” one insider told Re/code. Yahoo is currently the default data provider for stock and weather apps on the iPhone, but the company will have to overcome Google’s massive lead in the search engine infrastructure and customer experience capability to give Apple a reason to change default search engines. Also, Apple receives about $1 billion in annual payments from Google for business generated through iOS Google searches.
Hearing: When Apple launches iOS 8 later this year, the updated operating system may include music recognition capability, Bloomberg notes. According to sources, Apple will partner with Shazam Entertainment — which produces the Shazam music recognition app — to integrate the technology directly into iOS 8. Instead of downloading a separate app, iOS 8 users will be able to ask Apple’s voice assistant Siri: “what song is playing?” Apple is hoping that the new feature will increase music downloads through iTunes, which accounted for 63% of paid music downloads in 2013, according to an industry research group. Apple is expectedly to reveal details about iOS 8 features at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June.
Bigger Buyback: An analyst says that Apple will likely increase its share repurchase plan this month, Business Insider notes. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi predicts that when Apple releases its fiscal second quarter results next week, it will also announce “a decision on incremental cash returns” during the earnings conference call with Apple executives. Sacconaghi says that many Apple shareholders are “looking for Apple to provide a framework and commitment for capital return, such as a minimum percentage of ongoing free cash flow that would be returned to shareholders.” If Apple announces another $30 billion in share repurchases, Sacconaghi says that would “imply (about) $6 billion per quarter over the next seven quarters.” Apple approved a $60 billion share buyback program in 2013, part of an effort to return $100 billion to investors. That wasn’t enough for activist investor Carl Icahn, who pressured Apple for months to add another $50 billion to the program. Icahn abandoned that effort in February.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.