Did you know the meaning behind ‘i’ in iPod, iPhone and iPad?


Nowadays, saying ‘apple’ would bring associations with a tech company rather than a fruit, and things like iPod, iPhone and iPad are household names, but did you know that there is a hidden meaning behind the ‘i’, a meaning that was embedded in it when Apple launched its first iProduct?

It all starts around 1997 when Steve Jobs made his return to Apple from NeXT Computers with a grand vision and with a company 6 months short of going bankrupt. Groups of Apple employees have formed, each one blaming others for the demise of the company, and Cupertino was practically all in shambles. Jobs spent the first few months cutting down on products and employees, and trying to regain focus. What remained were two product lines - the PowerPC and the Mac family, and it was time take a bet and put all chips on the table on one of these.

It was the Mac family, with a plan for the first computer to ship with a new for the time Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector, and the first to shockingly skip the 3.5-inch floppy drive. This visionary approach to features will later become an Apple trademark. One more thing - Jobs had a radically different vision for its looks and design - it was not to be disassembled and upgradable (that was a stark difference from the vision of core Apple engineers like Wozniak), it was translucent and came in a fascinating array of vivid colors. It was like nothing else in the market, and right in its center was a CD-Rom drive.

"We're betting the company on this computer," said Steve. "It needs a great name."

As always, Jobs took the creative lead, thinking up names and he eventually came up with the name MacMan. Luckily, he was not the only one involved in the process. Ken Segall came to Apple directly from NeXT, with Steve Jobs, and he and his team were shocked when hearing the name. It must have taken a lot of convincing, but finally Steve agreed with his Apple co-workers to settle on a different name: iMac.

"It's a full-powered Mac, so it can do a lot of things. But first and foremost, it will get you onto the Internet in 10 minutes, even if you've never used a computer before."

And that’s where the ‘i’ in all succeeding Apple products comes from: ‘i’ for the Internet, the most important new feature of the iMac. The presentation board, however, liked the name for more than just that. The name was spot on - it was simple, it was obvious, it fit in the ‘Think Different’ Apple ideas. To them, it also stood for other things, things of different value like individual and imagination. These are the core Apple values built in the names of the current iPod, iPhone and iPad. We might also see an iWatch, and many other iDevices, but the values behind those products seem to remain a priority for Apple, don’t you think?

reference: Ken Segall, Quora

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