What does the ‘i’ in iPhone stand for? Here’s what it really means

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Apple iPhone 15 Plus and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max seen from nan back.Apple iPhone 15 Plus (left) and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When Steve Jobs announced nan first iPhone on January 9, 2007, it was a infinitesimal that changed nan compartment telephone marketplace forever. In 1 of nan astir celebrated merchandise reveals successful history, Jobs said it was 3 products successful one: a widescreen iPod pinch touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough net communications device.

But person you ever wondered what nan “i” successful iPhone stands for? It’s not conscionable nan iPhone that has nan “i” successful nan sanction — there’s besides nan iPad, iMac, iPod, and more. In nan past 3 decades, location person been almost 30 products from Apple (both successful hardware and software) that commencement pinch a lowercase “i.”

So again, what does that “i” guidelines for? Let’s dive into a spot of Apple history and find out.

It started successful 1998 pinch nan iMac

 iMac strikes it bigApple

Before Steve Jobs returned to Apple successful 1997, nan institution was connected nan verge of bankruptcy. The 1998 iMac was fundamentally nan instrumentality that saved Apple. Jobs described nan iMac arsenic an innovative individual machine that was designed to beryllium an easy on-ramp to get onto nan internet.

When nan iMac was successful development, Jobs primitively wanted to telephone it “MacMan,” which would beryllium akin to nan position “Walkman” and “Pac-Man” that were celebrated astatine nan time. But Ken Segall, an Apple collaborator from an advertizing firm, suggested nan sanction “iMac,” pinch nan “i” fundamentally being short for “internet.”

Jobs formally revealed nan iMac connected May 6, 1998. He said this astir nan iMac name: “iMac comes from nan matrimony of nan excitement of nan net pinch nan simplicity of nan Macintosh. Even though this is simply a full-blooded Macintosh, we are targeting this for nan number 1 usage that consumers show america they want a machine for, which is to get connected nan net — simply and fast.”

While we whitethorn deliberation that nan net is nary large woody these days, it was a immense woody backmost successful 1998, erstwhile it was not truthful common. But nan “i” besides stands for much than conscionable nan internet. During that presentation, Jobs borrowed from Segall’s original transportation for nan iMac sanction and revealed that nan “i” besides stands for “individual,” “instruct,” “inform,” and “inspire.”

What astir nan iPhone?

Steve Jobs reveals first iPhone astatine MacWorld connected January 9, 2007.David Paul Morris / Getty Images

After nan first iMac, Apple successful 1999 adopted nan “i” moniker for nan iBook, which was fundamentally nan first mainstream portable machine from Apple. Then came nan iPod successful 2001, which became 1 of nan astir successful products successful Apple’s full history. But what’s aft nan iPod?

In 2007, nan iPhone was revealed to nan world. But location were different names that nan iPhone could person been called, according to 9to5Mac, including “Mobi,” “TriPod,” “Telepod,” and moreover “iPad.”

Thankfully, personification thought nan “i” moniker would beryllium a cleanable fresh pinch “phone,” which, if we were going pinch nan original “internet” meaning, would beryllium “internet phone.” And that’s fundamentally what nan iPhone has ever been — an net communicator.

The iPhone 5 and iPhone 15 Pro Max screens.The iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and nan iPhone 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Even if you inquire Apple itself, location isn’t a actual answer. But considering that nan biggest characteristic of nan first iPhone was having a afloat net acquisition connected a mobile phone, it logistically makes sense.

And considering that nan iPhone has surpassed nan iPod arsenic Apple’s astir successful merchandise ever, it’s difficult to ideate that nan “iPhone” sanction is going anyhow anytime soon.

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Christine Romero-Chan

Christine Romero-Chan has been penning astir technology, specifically Apple, for complete a decade. She graduated from California…

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