The "i" in iMac

The first edition iMac marked a turning point for Apple and generated a succession of hits for Steve Jobs and Jony Ive. Interestingly, the iMac was named by neither.

The credit to the iMac name and subsequent nomenclature for most Apple products belongs to Ken Segall, an adverting executive from TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Reportedly, Segall and team were escorted into a private room where "Jobs whipped off the cloth to reveal a see through plastic teardrop. The first Bondi Blue iMac" (Kahney).

By Nafija.shabani via Wikimedia Commons

Up to this point, computers were beige and boxy in form. No one had seen anything like it. Segall remembers, "We were pretty shocked but we couldn't be frank...we were really thinking, 'Jesus, do they know what they are doing?'"

Jobs had originally suggested the name "MacMan", but Segall returned with five alternate names, including his favorite–iMac. It referenced the computer's primary intention, to access the internet. The name and design positioned the computer became an extension of the user, something more personal and "individual".

Attribution for features all-things Apple are often credited to Ive or Jobs, and I found it interesting that as bullish as both men were, they consulted an outsider and leaned on his expertise. The design and features were absolutely proprietary to Apple in every way, but one of Apple's most synonymous legacies, i-Everything, came from elsewhere and continues today. Moral of the story, leave it to the experts.

[Full story can be found in Kahney's book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products, and excerpts from an interview with Segall are also here. iMac photo courtesy of: Nafija.shabani (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.]