What Does the 'i' in iPod, iPhone and iPad Stand For?

Apple has created a brand of i-products that are arguably unparalleled in function and design. These include the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod. Most of us have become so used to these monikers that customers haven't had time to stop and ask, "What does the i mean?"

It turns out the answer is fairly straightforward.

Apple debuted its first i-product in 1998, a computer called the iMac. At time that Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and CEO, unveiled it, he said it was the marriage of the excitement of the internet with the simplicity of Macintosh, hence the i for Internet and the Mac for Macintosh.

""Even though this is a full-blooded Macintosh, we are targeting this for the number one use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the internet — simply, and fast," Jobs said at the time, as reported by Business Insider. "And that is what this product is targeted for."

Internet is probably the word most commonly thought to be represented by the i. But Internet isn't the only i-meaning term Jobs went on to give others. These are: individual, which refers to the personal nature of the computer; instruct, as the computer was also intended for educational purposes; inform; and inspire.

"'I' also means some other things to us," Jobs said at the time, according to Business Insider. "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."

Since the 1998 iMac debut, Apple has gone on to create several other similarly-named products using the i, including the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. And other naming conventions have come to the fore, including the "SE" in products such as the iPhone SE. That, it turns out, may have come from the original iPhone 3GS, in which the "S" may have stood for "speed," MacWorld reported. However, in 2012, Tim Cook said the "S" was a reference to Siri, the virtual assistant for the iPhone.

Michelle Bryner
Michelle writes about technology and chemistry for Live Science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Salisbury University, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a degree in Science Journalism from New York University. She is an active Muay Thai kickboxer at Five Points Academy and loves exploring NYC with friends.