Where did the ‘i’ in ‘i-mac’ or ‘i-phone’ come from?
• 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO…Apple was 6 months from full insolvency, company morale was at all time low. Warring faction, personal fiefdoms, internal groups vying for each other’s blood – each assigning blame for Apple’s slow but apparent demise.
• Steve spent 1st few months getting rid of irrelevant products, projects, partnerships…he streamlined the group to a Spartan group of products. Painful process…stark change.
• Steve identified two important products to focus on – the Mac product line & the Power Book product line. Both had lost their way and lost their significance in the market.
• Steve selected a project that was an extension on very 1st Mac.
o Radical design which saw a departure from anything else in the market – a translucent, all-in-one stand alone computer, no internal access, no ability to use add in cards.
o Adoption of a new communication standard at the time – USB
o No 3.5 inch floppy drive – instead sitting in centre was translucent door of the CD Rom drive. At the time, CD Roms were highly expensive and not considered the standard for software distribution.
• No name for the product at this stage. Steve knew it was going to be very important to have a Mac name. At the time TBWA\Chiat\Day was creating the defining marketing campaign for Apple, “Think Different” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thi...). Think different was Steve’s way of setting Apple apart.
• Ken Segall was driving genius behind this campaign. Ken had been brought over to Apple from Next where he had a great working relationship with Steve. Initially Steve rejected all the ideas and was leaning towards “MacMan” (http://gizmodo.com/5447804/the-b...). Ken was suitably horrified at this suggestion and set about trying to convince Steve to see another name as the one to go for. I think even Steve will admit that no genius is an island and even he misses the mark at times.
• It was almost by default that the name ‘i-mac’ was chosen. Steve suggested that they just try to silk screen the name Ken wanted on the front of his new computer…and that was that!
• August 15, 1998…launch date looming, it was clear that Apple were going to stick with ‘i-Mac’. http://kensegall.com/naming2.html
• Steve had a clear vision of what the computer stood for: "It's a full-powered Mac, so it can do a lot of things. But first and foremost, it will get you onto the Internet in 10 minutes, even if you've never used a computer before."
• The Apple Team & Agency chose the ‘i-Mac’ with the clear focus on the ‘i’. The ‘i’ stood for internet, individual, imagination, i as in me, etc…it was also going to do a good job of laying a solid foundation for future product planning.
• The ‘i’ concept has caught on and become so pervasive that Steve is the iCeo