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Steve Jobs called his company Apple for bizarre reason and tried to think of something better

Tom Wood

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Steve Jobs called his company Apple for bizarre reason and tried to think of something better

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you’ll no doubt be aware of the ubiquitous tech brand Apple, but have you ever realised where the name behind one of the world’s biggest companies came from?

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Well, stick around and you’ll find out.

Apple has broken down the world of technology in a relatively short amount of time.

Even in the late 90s and early 2000s, Microsoft had what seemed to be an unstoppable chokehold on the world of the personal computer.

However, with innovations like the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook, Apple has overthrown Bill Gates’ technological hegemony to sit astride the world of tech like an experienced horse-rider.

OK, that’s a slightly tortured analogy, but whatever – it’s been a long morning.

Back in the early days, there were far fewer Apple acolytes than there are nowadays, including the company’s two co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

First, let’s get to some of the rumours about how Apple came by that name, because they’re interesting too.

This Steve Jobs couldn't have foreseen how successful Apple would become. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
This Steve Jobs couldn't have foreseen how successful Apple would become. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

One suggests that they wanted to pay homage to Apple Records, the music label started by The Beatles.

In the end, they did manage to at least get their attention, because there was a lengthy lawsuit over the ownership of the Apple name back in 1989.

Another theory suggested that they wanted to get away from all the ‘techy’ and clinical-sounding names of their competitors, companies like IBM and Digital Equipment.

Plausible, but not exactly true.

A third theory suggests that they just wanted to get ahead of competitor Atari in the phonebook, though that would have been remarkably petty.

In truth, the explanations have come from the mouths of the men themselves, with Jobs telling his biographer Walter Isaacson that he was just ‘on one of [his] fruitarian diets’ and thought that calling the company Apple sounded ‘fun, spirited, and not intimidating’.

Wozniak tells the story a little differently, though.

Steve Wozniak tells it differently. Credit: DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy
Steve Wozniak tells it differently. Credit: DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy

In his own book, he said: “It was a couple of weeks later when we came up with a name for the partnership.

“I remember I was driving Steve Jobs back from the airport along Highway 85.

“Steve was coming back from a visit to Oregon to a place he called an ‘apple orchard.’

“It was actually some kind of commune.

“Steve suggested a name – Apple Computer. The first comment out of my mouth was, ‘What about Apple Records?’

“This was (and still is) the Beatles-owned record label.

“We both tried to come up with technical-sounding names that were better, but we couldn’t think of any good ones.

“Apple was so much better - better than any other name we could think of.”

In a later interview, he elaborated: “After trying to think of better and more technical names, both Jobs and I realised that Apple was a good fit.”

A book about the history of Apple claims that other names were tried, such as Executex and Matrix Electronics, but Apple Computers stuck.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Shutterstock

Topics: Apple, Technology

Tom Wood
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