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What does the "i" stand for in iMac, iPod, and other Apple products?

Answer: When the first iMac was released in 1998, there was much discussion about what the "i" in iMac stood for. Since the Internet was growing rapidly at the time, many people assumed in stood for "Internet." Others thought it might stand for "Integrated," since the iMac was an all-in-one computer. Another common guess was that the "i" stood for "Intelligent," since the iMac was designed by Apple to be a powerful, yet easy-to-use computer, therefore making it an intelligent choice. Finally others thought the "i" might stand for "individual" or simply "I," because of the unique and personal nature of the iMac. However, Apple never verified any of these claims.

Since the initial iMac was released, several other "i" products have been developed and marketed by Apple, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple has also produced several software programs beginning with "i," including iTunes, iCal, iChat, iSync, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and iWeb. Their consumer and professional software suites are named iLife and iWork respectively.

Judging by the wide range of "i" products Apple has produced, it seems clear there is no definitive meaning behind the letter "i." Even so, the naming convention has become a powerful and effective marketing tool for Apple, since it clearly defines their products. For example, when the first iMac was released, it created much greater brand recognition than other computers of the time, whose names were seemingly random strings of letters and numbers. Since then, other companies have started naming their products with more memorable names, but Apple's products like the iPhone and iPad still have the highest name recognition in their respective markets.

While we may never know what the "i" originally stood for (or if there ever was a distinct meaning), it has become a defining moniker for Apple products. And that is something "i" can appreciate.

Published: December 8, 2010 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center