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Meaning of letter 'i' in names of Apple gadgets: History

Meaning of letter 'i' in names of Apple gadgets: History Meaning of letter 'i' in names of Apple gadgets (photo: Getty Image)

Thanks to its reputation for high-quality manufacturing and elegant design, Apple's products are often perceived as a symbol of status. The mysterious but widely recognized "i" symbol present in the names of many modern Apple products raises curiosity - what does it actually signify?

RBC-Ukraine explains the meaning of the letter i in the names of Apple gadgets.

The following sources were used in preparing the material: The Economic Times, Logos-world, The iPhone Wiki.

History of the letter 'i' on Apple devices

The tradition of using the letter "i" in product names at Apple didn't begin with the iPhone but originated much earlier with devices such as the iMac, iBook, iPod, and others. According to enthusiasts' calculations, over the last three decades, Apple has introduced at least 23 products whose names started with the lowercase letter "i".

The first appearance of "i" was in 1998 in the name iMac, which became one of the most popular and successful devices in the company's history. During this challenging time for Apple, facing financial difficulties and on the brink of bankruptcy, the iMac served as a kind of lifesaver.

Initially, Steve Jobs considered naming the device MacMan because it reflected its "friendly" appearance. In this context, Man signifies a person, and Mac is part of the Macintosh brand, which was already a well-recognized name for Apple computers.

However, an Apple employee named Ken Segall boldly voiced his objections to the management. He characterized the proposed name MacMan as rather mediocre and "disappointing," noting that it triggered "allergies" among the entire development team.

Furthermore, it could be associated with the name of the Walkman player from the competitors - Sony.

Segall suggested the name iMac to Steve Jobs, where "i" stood for "internet" as an abbreviation. He emphasized that the new Apple computer's ability to connect to the World Wide Web was its main feature, and he decided to highlight this in the name. At that time, in 1998, internet connectivity was a highly innovative feature.

Initially, Jobs mentioned that he "hated" the name iMac, but later he changed his perspective and agreed to give the computer this name. During the presentation of the device on May 6, 1998, he even declared that "iMac is a combination of the joy of the internet and the simplicity of Macintosh."

Since then, the company has incorporated the "i" into the names of many of its products, both hardware (iPod, iPad, iPhone) and software: iOS, iCall, iTunes, iBooks.

For their first phone, Apple initially considered names like Mobi, TriPod, TelePod, and even iPad. Eventually, they settled on the straightforward and memorable name iPhone. In this case, the "i" carried the same meaning as in the first iMac because the ability to access the internet from a mobile device in 2007 was envisioned by Apple as revolutionary.