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An Apple By Any Other...

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Lapsing from our usual watch for news, we came upon a discussion on Usenet about the origin of Apple's name. So no news in this article, just an anecdote.

The question first arose when someone wondered about the true story behind Apple's name. He'd read that Steve Jobs had fond memories of working in an orchard one summer and thought that Apple would be a friendly name. Others chimed in with the theory that Apple was really something of an abbreviation for appliance, which is what Jobs thought the Mac should be. Unfortunately for that theory, the Mac came rather late in the company's evolution and the appliance theory of microcomputers probably started in Jef Raskin's Mac development team. The Apple II was certainly not as easy to use as a toaster.

Someone who knows Steve Wozniak contributed a more plausible story. Evidently, when Jobs and Wozniak were at the courthouse filing the incorporation papers, they still hadn't come up with a name. Jobs was eating an apple because he was then (and may still be) a "fruitarian," meaning that much of his diet was composed of fruit. Having no better option, they wrote down Apple Computer as the company name, figuring that they could change it later. Upon consideration though, they realized that Apple was early in the phone book (and before Atari), sounded friendly, and contrasted nicely with the word computer, which was and is still something of a scary word.

A final comment was added that the Apple logo was supposed to represent the apple with which Alan Turing committed suicide. No one has confirmed or denied this rumor though.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled news.

Information from:
Chris Silverberg -- macman@wpi.wpi.edu
A J Cunningham -- tjc@castle.ed.ac.uk
Brian Matthews -- blm@6sceng.UUCP
Mark H. Nodine -- man@eilat.cs.brown.edu
Steve Hix -- fiddler@concertina.Sun.COM

 

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