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Steve Jobs once revealed what the ‘i’ in iPhone stood for

There's a meaning behind it, actually more than one.
  • We’re so used to Apple products being called i-Something that we don’t even notice
  • There’s actually a reason behind it, and Steve Jobs himself once explained it
  • But there’s a catch

Published on Jan 30, 2024 at 6:56PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 1, 2024 at 1:50PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray

So many Apple products since the first iPod have been called i-Something.

It’s so automatic, we don’t even notice anymore – but there’s actually a reason behind that letter ‘i’.

READ MORE: Sneak peek at the highly-anticipated world-first Apple car

Apple has become so synonymous with the ‘i-Product’ nomenclature, that it’s almost like a meme.

When you want to talk about about iSomething iApple iRelated, all you have to do is add the extra ‘i’ at the beginning.

But that letter actually has a meaning, and Steve Jobs himself once explained the idea behind it.

In an interview with the Reader’s Digest in 1998, Jobs said the ‘i’ stands for “internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire”.

However, in the same interview, he also added that none of these words has priority over the other meanings.

So when people speculate it may simply mean ‘i’ as in ‘myself’, they’re not entirely wrong.

Each person can pick whatever the ‘i’ stands for, depending on how they feel and what they think Apple represents.

It’s fair to say that nearly all tech devices are designed to inform and inspire, most of them are connected to the internet, and most of them are customizable to suit our individual needs.

However, the ‘instruct’ part feels a bit strange and a little out of context.

And here’s another meaning that Steve Jobs never mentioned: ‘identity’.

The letter ‘i’ has become a pillar of Apple’s brand identity.

Today, most Apple products don’t have the letter ‘i’.

After retiring the iPod, these days we’ve only got the iPhone and iPad.

Then there are several Macbook models, but only one of them is called ‘iMac’.

And then there’s a swathe of Apple products that aren’t called i-Something, like AirPods, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and even the Apple Vision Pro.

And levity aside, the upcoming Apple Car will probably not be called the ‘iCar’.

And yet, that letter ‘i’ is still plays a key role in customers’ perception when it comes to Apple products.

Go iFigure.

Some of the images used for this article are created with AI.

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