This is inaccurate alarmism. It shouldn't be surprising that the search bar makes autocomplete requests to Apple as you type. The address, phone number, and map link that popped up when you typed in the name of a local business, for example, didn't just appear out of thin air.
However, it seemed suspicious to me that Apple would make it impossible, as the author claims, to type in the Safari address bar without sending queries to Apple. So, I fired up Charles proxy to confirm my suspicions.
When using Safari default settings, typing in the address bar resulted in a few requests to Apple and Google autocomplete APIs. Then, I turned off "Include search engine suggestions" and "Include Spotlight Suggestions" in Safari search preferences. (Safari -> Preferences -> Search)
As I initially believed, no requests were sent whatsoever when typing in the address bar after those settings were disabled. Can we put out our pitchforks yet, or am I missing something?
From Hacker News comments.