iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCal, iLife, etc. Does the "i" mean anything? And is it a trademark for Apple?

  • 3
    Surprised nobody asked this before.
    – Moshe
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 23:54

6 Answers 6


When Steve Jobs first introduced the iMac in 1998, he proclaimed that the i stood for Internet. Jobs went on to say, "i also means some other things to us" and displayed a presentation slide with the keywords:


You can even view video of this event.

The "i" was first used on the iBook and iMac. These were produced as Steve Jobs wanted a pro and consumer model of a desktop and portable computer. This later rolled out with more products, iSight, iPod, iPhone, iPad.

Yes the products are trademarked, but using an "i" itself before a product is not trademarked and it cannot be. Here is Apple's trademark list

  • 1
    Thats the correct Answer.. Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 7:17
  • 1
    This is also what's been stated in the biography by Walter Isaacson.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 17:15

According to Wikipedia (for the iMac at least):

Apple declared the 'i' in iMac to stand for "Internet"; it also represents the product's focus as a personal device ('i' for "individual").


I asked a rep at the Apple store. They said that it stood for Internet, on the first iMac.(As others have answered.) Now it is just a brand.


The whole idea of the first iMac was that you take it out of the box, plug in the power, and then plug in the modem with a phone line. Internet access made easy. The "i" stood for internet.


It's the I as in me. It means that these things somehow empower you.

  • 3
    Or hold power over you. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 23:07

In technology, the i-word is frequently related to "innovation". So the "i" in iphone could mean "innovative."

Berkun, S. (2010). The Myths of Innovation (First ed., pp. 1-82). Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

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