This Is What The ‘i’ In iPhone Stands For

by : Tom Percival on : 20 Feb 2016 12:25

Considering how widespread Apple products have become – there’s iPhones, iMacs and iPads – have you ever wondered what the ‘i’ stands for?

According to The Independent most people presume that the ‘i’ stands for ‘internet’, and they’re not entirely wrong but that’s not the whole story.


The convention of naming products with the ‘i’ came about when Apple introduced the iMac in 1998.


The computer was released just as the internet was taking off and its marketing focused on its ability to use the web.  Steve Jobs believed that the number one use for the device would be the surfing the web so it made sense to make that clear in the name.

But that’s not all it stands for.


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During the launch of the iMac, Steve Jobs showed slides which displayed the five words ‘i’ stands for – internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire.


Jobs said:

‘i’ also means some other things to us… 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.


In recent years the ‘i’ prefix has lost some of its shine with many of Apple’s recent products, including the Apple TV and the Apple Watch, using a new naming convention, although with the iPhone 7 coming soon Apple’s ‘i’ will be inspiring individuals for a while yet.

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Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: News


The Indepedent
  1. The Indepedent

    iPhone: What the ‘i' in Apple’s handset name stands for