What’s the significance of the ‘i’ in Apple’s products?

Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, first explained the meaning of the Apple ‘i’ during his 1988 launch presentation for the original iMac. The "i" stands for "Internet," Jobs explained. The iMac's job was to make accessing the internet simpler and more intuitive.

In context, as the 1980s progressed, companies began to invest more and more money in the development of products to make best use of the internet, including Apple. Steve Jobs believed that Apple products centred around the internet could literally change the world, hence the importance of ‘i’ for the product positioning of Apple. The iMac was the first ‘all-in-one’ computer to hit the market. It abandoned the typical beige or grey colours that other manufacturers used to build computers. Apple chose to be bright and bold in the attempt to put the user at the centre of the entire experience. 


Although the internet was the main ‘i’ that inspired Steve Jobs and Apple to incorporate the letter in the name of their products, this was not the only ‘i’ word he used.

Jobs used a number of inspiring ‘i’ words in his iMac presentation to describe the iMac creation, including:

Individual: computers become personal; one computer per person.

Instructional: perfect for instruction, for training and learning.

Informative: the internet opens a new window to be informed of anything that happens in the world.

Inspire: creativity has always been a part of Apple's DNA and the company's products are designed to inspire users to create new things.

Perhaps the initial reason for Apple’s ‘i’ was indeed the internet, but it is clear that all the ‘i’ words Jobs used to talk about the iMac remain particularly relevant for the technology Apple offers the world today.

The Mac, iPhone or iPad are all devices used primarily individually, perfect for finding out information and inspire creativity. So, it’s clear that Jobs’ words still resonate today.  

In the following video you can see the presentation of the first iMac at the event Apple held on 6th May 1998, with Steve Jobs as the host.

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