Founded on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, Apple is already celebrating its 46th anniversary. On the occasion of this special event, we have gathered for you 10 little-known anecdotes about the Cupertino-based company.
1. Apple’s name and logo have nothing to do with Alan Turing
Contrary to many rumors, Apple’s name and logo were not chosen as a tribute to the famous mathematician Alan Turing. The reasons that make this rumor credible are the following: Alan Turing, considered “the father of computing”, was persecuted for a long time because of his homosexuality, and eventually committed suicide at the age of 41 by biting into an apple poisoned with cyanide. For some, the Apple logo is a reference to the man who managed to break Enigma. Others also add that the multicolored version of the logo is a reference to the LGBT cause, and indirectly a nod to Alan Turing.
Unfortunately this rumor is false. Indeed, although Steve Jobs has never spoken publicly on this subject, Rob Janoff, the creator of the very famous Apple crunchy apple, has denied this information many times. The designer explains that the only instruction he received from Steve Jobs to create the logo was: “don’t make it cute”. He also says that the crunchy apple symbolizes “the knowledge that users could get from the computer”, and that the multicolored logo is inspired by the Beatles cartoon: Yellow Submarine. Nevertheless, Rob Janoff finds this anecdote charming, and said that the stories behind it are more interesting than the real reasons why he designed the logo.
2. Apple’s first touch device dates back to 1983
Dubbed “Bashful,” this first touch tablet prototype created by Apple in 1983 was never ultimately released. Very large, it incorporated a touch tablet, accompanied by a stylus, as well as a keyboard for text entry. Its name, which means “shy” in English, is a direct reference to one of the dwarfs in the children’s story Snow White. Several models of Bashful had been designed, and some even incorporated a landline telephone.
Although the idea was quickly abandoned, this prototype shows how quickly touch tablets became an important concern for Apple. Finally, it took 28 years after the Bashful to see the iPad arrive.
3. Steve Jobs flooded his iPods to make them smaller
Miniaturization of products has always been a priority for Apple, and Steve Jobs was pushing this process to the extreme. Amit Chaudhary, a former Apple employee, told this funny anecdote about the company’s founder.
He explains that during the development of the very first iPod, the engineers presented Steve Jobs with a finished prototype, and that Jobs said it was too big without even looking at it in detail. The team emphasized that they had worked very hard to achieve this version, and that it was impossible to make it smaller. Amit Chaudhary ralso brings that Steve Jobs remained totally silent, then got up and walked to an aquarium in the back of the room, to dip the iPod in. As the prototype sank, bubbles rose to the surface, and Steve Jobs simply said, “Those are air bubbles, that means there’s space in there, make it smaller.
4. The iPhone was not Apple’s first phone
2 years before the iPhone was released, Apple launched its first cell phone model in collaboration with one of its partners at the time: Motorola. Unveiled at the same time as the first iPod nano (2005), the “ROKR” was a classic cell phone, based on the E398 model from Motorola. It had a Java music player, and benefited from iTunes (but could not receive more than 100 songs). Note that the presentation of the ROKR by Steve Jobs was quite catastrophic since the phone crashed during the demo…
This collaboration was never a commercial success, and the ROKR was even considered as bad, thick, rather slow and not very intuitive. If the first model is the most famous, 3 other Motorola phones equipped with iTunes followed: the SLVR L7, the RAZR V3i and the RAZR V3im.
5. The name “iPhone” was already registered by a VoIP brand
The iPhone could well have… never been called iPhone! Ken Segall, former creative director at Apple, revealed during a conference the other ideas considered at the time by the brand. We find names like “Mobi”, “TriPod”, “MicroMac”, “TelePod” or “iPad”. In the end, “iPhone” won out, despite a small problem: Cisco Systems, a U.S. VoIP brand that designs PC-less Internet access products, had already registered the name “iPhone” in 1996. A legal battle ensued between the two companies, which fortunately ended in a joint settlement.
6. The first presentation of the iPhone was very risky
On January 9, 2007 at 9:41 am, Steve Jobs arrived on stage at the Macworld Trade Show in San Francisco to proudly present the first iPhone to the world. The demonstration goes perfectly, and everyone is amazed by the arrival of such a product. However, what the public doesn’t know is that this presentation could have turned into a fiasco if Steve Jobs had made the slightest mistake.
Indeed, at this precise moment, the iPhone is still far from being functional, and remains a prototype on which many bugs persist. Nevertheless, Apple’s engineers managed to design a series of functional actions, which allowed to unveil all the features without encountering any problems. Steve Jobs had to perform each manipulation in a precise order, at the risk of losing the Internet connection or seeing the iPhone shut down in case of error. Fortunately, none of this happened and after 90 minutes in apnea, the engineers of chez Apple could finally breathe.
7. Steve Jobs was against the App Store
The first iPhone was released without an App Store, and it wasn’t until July 10, 2008 (more than 8 months later) that the app store appeared. Steve Jobs thought it was a bad idea because he was afraid that the App Store would be an open door to viruses on the OS, and thus Apple would lose control over the user experience. Eventually, the Apple founder changed his mind, and created what he himself described as “an advanced, open platform for developers while protecting iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.”
With a total of 552 applications in 62 countries, the App Store has been a huge success since its launch (over 10 million downloads in the first weekend). The App Store has spawned a new industry, with more than 1.8 million applications according to an App Annie study of the mobile app market.
8. The “i” in front of Apple product names has 5 meanings
The “i” in Apple’s product names (iPhone, iPad, iMac or iPod) is well known and easily identifiable. But did you know that it was not chosen at random? Indeed, it was during the keynote in May 1998, when Steve Jobs presented the iMac, that the meaning of this “i” was revealed. Surprise, it is not 1, but 5 meanings that highlight all the qualities of Apple products. For the most famous, the co-founder of Apple explained that the “i” stood for Internet, and that it symbolized the fact that the iMac could connect to an Internet network in less than 10 minutes. The other meanings are:
9. The iPhone 9 never existed
In September 2017, to everyone’s surprise, Apple announced the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. No one expected it, and everyone is asking the same question: where is the iPhone 9? There was never an official answer from the company, but the switch from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone X caused a lot of reactions around the world. Everyone finally agreed that the arrival of the iPhone X symbolized a clear break, and allowed to differentiate the “old” iPhone (smaller screen, home button, no Face ID…) from the “new” iPhone X, 11, 12 and now 13.
Some may also see it as a nod to Microsoft, which also skipped Windows 9, going directly from Windows 8 to Windows 10. Is the number 9 cursed?
10. Official iPhone photos always show 9:41
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the time on iPhone and iPad images in Apple’s official communications always reads 9:41. This choice may seem trivial, but it actually symbolizes the time at which
the main Apple devices are unveiled during the keynotes. Indeed, the iPhone was presented at 9:42 am, and the iPad at 9:41 am. Since that day, this time has always remained the same in all Apple’s ads and communications.
Scott Forstall, the former vice president of iOS between 2007 and 2012, said that “product launch keynotes are designed to have the flagship product introduced around the 40th minute of the conference […] we make sure the time on the device’s visual is close to the time given by the audience’s watches.”
It is still 9:41 at Apple. Apple
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