What Does the 'i' in iPod, iPhone, and iPad Mean?
Apple has created an array of products with unparalleled design and functionality. It has products with the mysterious lowercase ‘i’ in the beginning. We are so used to iPods, iPhones, and iPads that we never really thought of what the ‘i’ stands for. The ‘i’ in the iMac was a way to introduce a group of similarly named ‘i’ products. In the past three decades, Apple has released more than 23 products with the lowercase ‘i’ branding in its name. Let’s dig deeper into why ‘i’?
How i Came about
During the development of the iMac, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wanted to name the friendly-looking computer Mac-man. He then consulted with TBWA\Chiat\Day, an advertising firm, and an Apple collaborator there named Ken Segall came up with the name ‘iMac’ where the ‘i’ was a short form of internet, one of the most distinctive features of that machine. At that time, ‘i’ in the internet was generally capitalised and a lowercase ‘i’ was something only Apple could pull off.
Back in 1998, while unveiling the iMac, Steve Jobs revealed that the ‘i’ stood for “internet”. It represented marrying the simplicity of Macintosh with the excitement of the internet. We are so used to the internet now but back in the day, it was extremely difficult to build a machine that could easily get you on the internet. Though the ‘i’ is thought to most commonly represent the internet , Jobs went on to add a few more words borrowed from Ken Segal’s original pitch while naming the iMac. The slide by Steve Jobs included words such as ‘Individual’ - referring to the personal nature of the device, inform, inspire, and instruct, referring to the educational purpose.
Jobs also explained how ‘i’ meant more than just one thing to Apple. “We are a personal computer company, and even though this product is made for the network, it serves as a beautiful standalone product. We aim to target this product for education as it is perfect for most things that they do on instruction”. The number one reason why consumers want a computer is to get on the internet and we are aiming to achieve this with our full-blooded Macintosh, he stated.
The debut of the iMac, the innovative personal computer designed to connect with the internet, in 1998 marked the origin of ‘i’ products. The success of the iMac reversed Apple’s fortunes and has since become one of the most successful global companies. Since then, Apple has created a lot of products with similar naming that includes ‘i’ in the beginning. The iPad, the iPod and the iPhone.
Even though ‘i’ in the iMac meant ‘internet’, Apple found a way to include the abstract naming convention in its products to just mean anything that you could imagine. This is probably one of the major reasons why over the years, the naming convention has proved to be adaptable to so many different types of products.
From the iPod to the iPhone
A couple of years after the release of the iMac, Apple launched its portable music player, the iPod. It became wildly successful and conquered the world. Everybody wanted to know what Apple would create next. Many potential names floated around when the firm started working on cell phones. Ken Segall had revealed that Apple was considering the names “Tripod”, “Mobi”, and even the ‘iPad’ for the new phone. We still don’t know who named the device the ‘iPhone’ but it definitely worked like a charm. A simple descriptive word like ‘phone’ connected with the strong and prevalent lowercase ‘i’ branding of Apple was a brilliant idea.