What Does the “i” Stand for in iMac, iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products?

The birth of the first iMac in 1998 sparked much debate about what the “i” in iMac stood for. With the rising of the iPhone and iPad worldwide, the letter “i”‘s meaning has always been mystic to consumers.


There are 4 common terms people think of the letter “i”:

  • Since the Internet was rapidly expanding at the time, many people said it stood for “Internet.” It was one of the first computers to be able to connect to the internet without a modem or other hardware attachments.
  • It’s also widely thought to be an acronym for “Integrated,” since the iMac was a multi-function device.
  • The most popular guess was that the “i” represented “Intelligent,” since the iMac was created by Apple to be a powerful yet simple-to-use machine, making it an intelligent option.
  • Others assumed the “i” might stand for “individual,” or simply “I,” given the iMac’s unique and personal nature. Indeed, it was designed with individuals in mind as well as instructional uses such as language learning and math drills.

Apple never confirmed these guesses.

With the more and more “i” devices released, its initial meaning might have been lost. Apple released the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. There are several software programs beginning with “i,” including iTunes, iSync, iPhoto, iCal, iChat, iMovie, iDVD, and iWeb. iWork and iLife are the names of Apple’s consumer and professional software lines.

The “i” now has no definitive definition, but it is used to identify Apple’s products. Apple’s naming convention has become a strong and effective marketing tool since it precisely describes its items.

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