MYSTERY SOLVED: What the “i” in iPhone Actually Stands For

Arguably, the most prominent letter in the alphabet thanks to the iPhone is the lowercase letter “i.”

Many people with and without Apple iPhones have probably pondered what this significant letter means and how it got its place in front of words anyway. The “i” mainly refers to the internet, but it may also mean individual, instruct, inform and inspire.

The “i” first made its big debut in 1998 with the launch of the iMac, the birth of the modern Apple computer. According to Business Insider, cofounder Steve Jobs said the “number one use that the consumers say they want to use the computer for” was to access the internet. Alas, that was how “i” came to refer to the internet.

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However, that’s not the only meaning for Apple’s “i.” During his presentation for the launch, Jobs showed a slide with multiple headings related to the “i” that included internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire. Jobs said:

“‘I’ also means some other things to us. We are a personal-computer company, and although this product is born to network, it also is a beautiful standalone product. We are targeting it also for education. They want to buy these. And it is perfect for most of the things they do in instruction.”

The “i” went on to be used in branding around the world (in the case of Chinese software iTools) as well as Apple’s most iconic devices including the iMac, iPod, iPad, and of course, the iPhone. 

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