What Does i in iPhone, iPad, iMac Stand For?

Have you ever wondered what does i in Apple's products such as iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac, iOS or iTunes stand for? In this post, we will seek an answer to this question and learn what i stands for.

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Apple is one of the most well known technology brands in the world that creates innovative and high quality products. I guess it would be safe to assume that you have heard at least one of the famous Apple products such iPhone - their smartphone, iPad - their tablet, iPod - their portable music player, iMac - their desktop computer, iOS - their operating system and iTunes - their marketplace for digital downloads.

What Does i in iPhone, iPad, iMac Stand For? - 1

You most probably noticed one thing in common with all these catchy product names. Yes, you are right, it is the i letter. Except for the Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Pay, the i letter is currently used in all other product names of Apple. It is definitely a recognizable sign for branding, especially for electronics and technology products such as Apple produces, but it is also a mystery for many who don't know its origin.

So, what does this "i" stand for? Where does it come from, what does it mean and why is it so special?

What Does i in iPhone and other Apple Products Stand For?

A lot of things have been said on many blogs and discussion forums about what i in iPhone stands for. Actually, there are quite a number of interesting ideas and theories about the origin and the meaning but why not go to the source and ask the person who introduced it?

The following video is from an Apple Special Event in 1998 where Steve Jobs is making a presentation introducing the first iMac.

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On 00:08, Steve starts to explain where the iMac name comes from and tells that it is the combination of the internet and Macintosh. He then continues at 00:34 and talks about what other meanings i has for Apple. The following screen is a section from that speech:

What Does i in iPhone, iPad, iMac Stand For? - 2

As you can see, in addition to internet, i also means individual, instruct, inform and inspire. Based on the presentation Steve gave, here are some notes about how each of these words play a role in the first iMac and I believe also in all Apple products even today.

Internet

Internet corresponds to the excitement of the internet, as it was just starting and users were wanting a simple and fast way to get on the internet. After so many years, internet is now playing a vital role in our lives and will continue to do so for a long time.

Individual

At that time, Apple was known to be a Personal Computer company, hence a focus on the individual as a stand-alone product but also a focus on the ability to network.

Instruct

In addition to personal use of connecting to the Internet, iMac was targeting education and providing a means for accessing and distributing instructions.

Inform

Another focus was by connecting to the internet, which is a huge source of information (today, it is even more so), to inform users.

Inspire

The iMac was a product that would inspire not only Apple as a company but also the users for coming up with even better products in the future.

This is what i stands for in iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and other Apple products.

Regardless of its origin and its meaning, the i symbol on the products that many of use on a daily basis has been one of the most powerful symbols in our generation.

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