Here’s what the ‘i’ in ‘iPhone’ actually stands for

Woman holding iPhone 8 Plus

If you own or are at all familiar with Apple devices, you know that it’s not the ayes but the i’s that have it.

There’s an iPhone, iPad, iPod, even the operating system Apple mobile devices is called iOS. In fact, Apple has used the lowercase “i” in products since the release of the iMac in 1998. So, what gives?

Did you guess that the “i” stands for internet? If so, you are correct — at least, in part. When introducing the iMac at an Apple event in 1998, Steve Jobs explained that the “i” stood for several features and values that the company provided.

“iMac comes from the marriage of the excitement of the internet with the simplicity of Macintosh,” Jobs said during the presentation. “We are targeting this for the number one use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet simply and fast.”

It made perfect sense since iMac was Apple’s first personal computer that made accessing the internet user-friendly. It was also the first commercially successful personal computer to feature the mouse and the graphical user interface — which we all use today — rather than a command-line interface.


However, Jobs emphasized that there were other reasons for using the letter before the product name.

“‘I’ also means some other things to us,” Apple’s co-founder continued. “We are a personal computer company, and although this product is born to network, it also is a beautiful stand-alone product. We are targeting it also for education. They want to buy these. And it is perfect for most of the things they do in instruction. It is perfect for finding tremendous sources of information over the internet. And we hope as you see the product it will inspire us all to make even better products in the future.”

A slide was displayed behind him as he spoke, listing five words: internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire. While at the time, the words were only meant to describe the iMac, they have gone on to represent Apple’s extensive product line.

You can watch a clip of the late Jobs introducing the iMac on YouTube … on the internet, of course!

[h/t: Reader’s Digest]


Related posts

iPhone and flight info screenshot
This easy iPhone trick lets you track flight info without an app
How to clean your AirPods, case and ear tips safely and effectively
Smartphone placed in a bowl of rice.
Apple warns not to put wet iPhones in rice
Woman sitting on couch, smiling as she uses smartphone
This is the right way to charge your phone

About the Author
Tricia Goss
Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

From our partners