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



1. Caralho

Posts: 119; Member since: Jun 18, 2012


4. james004

Posts: 486; Member since: May 15, 2013



Posts: 210; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

i for eye. i for illuminati.

14. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

100% agree!

9. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Someone must be very bored at phonearena


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

lol ..... how dare you steal my thunder!?

29. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Victor H. did you know that Apple's logo "apple" is poisonous, there is a story about that too! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

2. MarkArigayo

Posts: 240; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Thanks. Now I really know.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31598; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Legendary, iconic, and synonymous with success.

5. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Kinda getting watered down due to the plethora of other companies placing an "i" in front of their device names as well. Is that a testament to Apple? Sure, but it's getting old in some ways too.

8. Feanor

Posts: 1418; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Indeed. Apple should have sued BMW when they came with the name iDrive... or not; after all BMW is a premium brand and iDrive alluded to Apple products in a way that could only be a free advertisement for Apple. And then other companies followed...

28. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

idrive was so ahead of its time that left most buyers confused and frustrated! fact!


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Please define plethora for him as, it's beyond his comprehension.

10. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

Not an apple fan but it's still interesting and historic

11. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

iConic, iCool

12. Vanster

Posts: 124; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

i still can't understand what you say about "i", so someday i will make the "u" device

15. aayupanday

Posts: 582; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

Hahaha..... Like the uPad

13. Credo

Posts: 749; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

I is the same as 'eye', it's a symbol.of the Illuminati, that is the real reason, nothing else ;-)

16. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

At first I thought that was Ashton Kucther. Then I realized it was Steve Jobs when he was young.

17. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I knew that. But they're sometimes overused.

18. tenho1982

Posts: 68; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Just for fun, who in here really cares what the i means?

19. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

The first IMac was a hit The speakers on that thing was loud

20. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Macman? That really makes me question Steve Jobs' reputation as a marketing genius. Plus, it's clearly a ripoff of Walkman.

41. Kaiser2007

Posts: 173; Member since: Nov 16, 2013

It comes from Pac-Man.

21. E34V8

Posts: 110; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

"...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. " Mmm yes. Things like individual, imagination and Think Different immediately pop in to my head, when I think of iPhones and iPads . Oh no, wait! The opposite things... the opposite things pop in to my head, when I think of those products.Products with no options for personalization to set one apart from the other.

22. kevinhope5

Posts: 53; Member since: Feb 06, 2014


23. kevinhope5

Posts: 53; Member since: Feb 06, 2014



Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

iRead the whole article, how iStupid! How do you eXplain the first Pod in October 2001 without iNternet. Quite frankly, the "i" should stand for: iNsufferable iNcomplete iDiotic iMaginary iNsolent iNtrusive iNcapable iSham .... etcetera

26. sianto

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

Ofcourse I knew it.

30. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

icrap ijunk ish*t

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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