Apple has become the world’s most valuable and recognized technology company. Founded on April 1, 1976, the choice of the name of Apple has a curious origin which explains Steve Jobs in a very old video. Of course, there’s no epic story and no big motive behind the name, but it’s interesting why.
Piracy the phone book to get out before Atari
In this video, recorded over forty years ago, we see a very young Steve Jobs give an interview. Asked about the name of Apple, he replied as follows:
Everyone chose names like Matrix Electronics and all kinds of names. And we just decided to call it Apple Computer because someone suggested it at five in the afternoon that day. Partly because I like apples a lot and partly because it was in the phone book before Atari and I worked at Atari.
The recording is not easy to decrypt due to the old format. Picture and sound are briefly interrupted, but the reconstruction agrees with the actual episode. Steve Jobs got the name Apple because it would come out before Atari in the phone book. A company he worked for years before.
We could think of this as a type of primitive SEO tactic. At that time, many customers were locating businesses based on this directory, which was listed alphabetically within their industry. So we would start looking for companies computers or software starting with the letter A to Z. The logical thing is that all eyes are on a company called Apple or Atari, rather than on, say, VoodooPC or Zeos, which are also at the end.
At the start of the Internet age, the physical directory model was moved to the web. Here the websites have been organized by categories and also alphabetically. However, Google’s model took hold at the turn of the century
Steve Jobs and apples throughout his life
Steve Jobs loved apples. In fact, this fruit played two fundamental roles throughout its pre-Apple life. The first episode involves Robert Friedland, a friend of Steve Jobs who founded a town hippie in the 70s called All One Farm. His uncle entrusted him with the management of an apple orchard, where he created a sanctuary of meditation and spirituality.
In the town, they prune trees, pick apples, collect firewood and make cider. Jobs spent several seasons there, helping to harvest the fruits and help Friedland build the municipality, even putting the electrical installation of the barn. Eventually, the idealists left the farm when they realized Friedland had made it a business rather than a place of spiritual retreat.
For Jobs, the name Apple had practical utility and an emotional aspect rooted in his personality.
In his youth, Jobs was also obsessed with his diet. So much so that he did it frequently strict unique diets for weeks. On one occasion, he ate so many carrots for several weeks that his skin turned orange, according to his biography of Walter Isaacson.
And, of course, he also followed a diet based exclusively on apples. It was around this time of apple obsession in which he founded the company that bears the name of this fruit. One practical reason and one that we might consider sentimental led Steve Jobs to choose the Apple name.