Lost in the flurry of iPad-palooza news, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster went out on a limb last week.

He argues that there's a 70% chance that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) will roll out a mobile search engine over the next five years.

I have no problem climbing out further on Munster's limb. I believe that there's closer to a 100% chance that Apple throws its weight behind search, and it will happen a lot sooner than five years from now.

Let's go over the reasons why it makes perfect sense for Apple to launch a search party.

1. Sleeping with the enemy is unhealthy
Munster argues that having Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) as the default search provider on iPhones is unhealthy. Big G has access to what iPhone owners are searching for, providing valuable insight into the trends of smartphone owners. Apple needs to protect its data, whether it's through search boxes, App Store transactions, or now iPad-surfing sessions.

Google and Apple have gone from being friends to frenemies, and it's really just a matter of time before they are full-blown adversaries.

What can Apple do? Well, it can't replace Google with Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Bing, because that's just somebody else it has to compete with in the smartphone operating system realm. Don't look at Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), especially now that it's working in cahoots with Bing.

Apple is down to turning to an upstart engine, rolling out its own, or acquiring a promising start-up and rolling it out as its own.

2. Search is where it's at
There is clearly plenty of money to be made in search, specifically in paid search. Turning engine queries into leads for keyword-bidding sponsors is a huge business. Google commands a market cap of more than $180 billion, generating the lion's share of its money through online advertising. Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) is a $20 billion company, and that is with a presence only in a developing China and as a bit player in Japan.

Apple may not seem like a big threat to command gobs of market share across its appliances to bring out the high-bidding advertisers, but one also can't forget that it reaches a more affluent crowd than its competitors given the premium pricing of its computers, smartphones, and portable media players.

If Apple is leaving money on the table by outsourcing paid search -- or at the very least failing to make the direct connections with advertisers -- it's unlikely to continue for too much longer.

3. The time is right
Apple doesn't need search. It's doing just fine moving MacBooks and iPhones. It's also benefiting from having Google and Bing compete for Apple's juicy real estate, so it may be generating more now in search than it would in the near term if it were to go it alone.

However, this is also a similar approach to Apple's stateside exclusivity with AT&T (NYSE: T) on the iPhone. It's worth the chunky AT&T subsidy in the near term, but we are reaching the point where Apple needs to go for volume growth, and that means reaching outside of AT&T's network.

Humility has aided Apple in the past. The iPod wasn't an overnight success in 2001. If iTunes had been only available through Macs, it wouldn't be the portable digital media player of choice these days.

Today's Apple is a cocky one. It dares to dismiss Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE) Flash on iPhones and iPads. It gets skimpy on iPad feature omissions including cameras and universal ports. Apple genuinely believes that consumers will buy just about anything it puts its logo on -- short of Apple TV, that is. 

Before its courage fades, it may as well make the bold and forward-thinking entry into search.

After all, what else is a Safari for?

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers choices. Apple and Adobe Systems are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been an Apple fan for ages, and will go out on a limb by proclaiming that there's a 99% chance of Apple entering mobile search at least within the next three years. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.