Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where did the ‘i’ in ‘i-mac’ or ‘i-phone’ come from?

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” ( 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” ( 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’.
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

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