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Why Most Apple Products Start with an "i."

With Steve Jobs resigning this week, here's a bit of history behind the legacy of the "i."

Most Apple products start with i:

i Mac
i Pod
i Tunes
i Phone
i Pad
i OS
i Cloud

What does the “i” stand for? Does it mean "me?" Or "individual?"

Well, it can, and it's probably good marketing to let people think it does... but that’s not the original meaning. For that we must go back to 1998.

Steve Jobs, interim CEO, launched the iMac that year, and said:

"The iMac comes from the marriage of the internet with the simplicity of a Macintosh. We are targeting this for the #1 use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet–simply and fast."

Steve Jobs reiterated the point again in 2000 when he became full-time CEO. He called himself the "iCEO." But why the "i"?

"I'm going to choose that title to remind myself of what’s really important, which is, of course, the internet."

So, "i" is for internet:

i-nternet Mac
i-nternet Pod
i-nternet Tunes
i-nternet Phone
i-nternet Pad
i-nternet OS
i-nternet Cloud

It all makes sense now. Steve wanted to integrate the internet in as many ways as possible, making internet access as fast and simple as possible.

Today we can access the internet numerous ways, with new ways continually popping up. Today we expect our devices to access the internet. A phone that doesn't access the internet is now called a s̶m̶a̶r̶t stupid phone. The internet is no longer a feature on a computer, it's the backbone of nearly all our consumer devices.

I have a felling Apple will continue to integrate the internet in innovative ways. For example, the iPod, which currently doesn't connect to the *i*nternet, probably will connect to the internet with services like "Spotify" becoming so hugely popular.

And, having said all that, perhaps th "i" should really stand for innovation. After all Apple became "the world's biggest company" through their i-nnovation. iThink. :)

Ever wondered why most Apple Products start with an 'i' ...? i-Did. Now i-Know. :)
Martin Soler's profile photoArt Jonak's profile photoJames Alexander's profile photoPeter William Lount's profile photo
+Robert Scoble - yes, iCloud changes everything. Just look at Spotify! :) And iTV --- looking at some of the hiring patterns at Apple over last 12 months, I'd say you're spot on. Brilliant move IMO. Thank you for all YOU do Robert in leading the charge in tech news BTW!
Cisco was the first company to have an iPhone and iOS and Apple I think is still paying Cisco to use those names. There is an ongoing law suit against Apple for iCloud. There's an Arizona ISP that started using iCloud in 2005 for online storage for their customers. There were two Asian companies that had iPad devices several years before Apple's device. Novell has been using an online print function called iPrint for more than 10 years too. Steve Jobs did a great job of telling everyone that the letter "i" was "cool."
By the way, the photo above is from the upcoming Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. At one point the biography was going to be called, yes i-Steve.

It's "The Book of Jobs" <grin> and now has a minimal new title, Steve Jobs. Plus, it has a nice, clean book jacket to match.

The cover photo was shot by Albert Watson for Fortune, taken 2009, and the back cover photo (featuring the original Mac!) is by Norman Seeff for Rolling Stone, taken in 1984.

It’s all black and white, and so minimal I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s design department signed off on it. iApproved :)
+Art Jonak Tremendous effort in developing this post. Insightful and Inspirational...
Great post, I must say that all the posts on Steve leaving and how he is the reincarnation of god is going a bit far. As if he had invented the computer and the internet and phones and mp3 players. I appreciate apple products for their design. Not their innovation, Microsoft has innovated a lot more than Apple has, The Tablet computer has been Bill Gates' pet project for a decade. A PC in every home and on every desk has been Microsoft's achievement and they did that many many years ago. Iphones aren't innovative at all I could do all these things with a windows Pocket PC phone back in early 2000s. I'm not a MS fanboy by far, I am also not an Apple fanboy, I have an iphone and I use a Mac plus a PC. My point is just let's give credit where credit is due. Apple gets the credit for awesome design and taking something clunky and ugly and making something cool and smooth. But they didn't change the face of the earth in any other ways than to make is smoother and cooler.
Others like Xerox, IBM, Microsoft, Palm, Dell they changed quite a lot more. They brought computers to our desks everywhere. They made handheld devices a reality and brought them to us even to those who couldn't afford the expensive gadgets. They're the ones that changed the tech scene for real.
Apple got one thing right, PR and most others failed in that department.
Sorry this ramble came to your post - It's just that I am overdosing on the "Steve Jobs" articles streaming at my poor iPhone 3Gs (still waiting for 5 btw).
+Martin Soler -- good rant. I like it! And... the new CEO of Apple is gay. Which, ironically, is pretty PC. :)
I always thought the "i" had to do with information ("Information is power"). The next step will be "k" as in knowledge ;)
"i" = self, personal, as in personal computer, personal device. That's why it actually works as a name, it invokes the person's possessiveness to have access to their own personal device. This is a good thing.
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