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Several versions exist explaining the origins of Apple´s name and logotype.
The official version could be the one of the Steve Job´s biography by Walter Isaacson (2011):
1976. It was the day before the mandatory registration of the company. Jobs came back from the apple garden he used to visit as a chill-out place, located in the state of Oregon. The farm was called “All One Farm” and, according to the biography of the Apple´s founder, that inspired the Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) to give the name -on the fly- to the company they were going to create the next day.
The apple logo in relief was decided some time later. Bitten, to distinguish it from a cherry.
The story of the logotype. Another public domain versions
In 1968, the Beatles founded a company called Apple Corps (production, merchandising, tours,…)
Steve Jobs was an eager fan of the Beatles. A widely spread version says that the Apple´s name and logo is a Job´s tribute to the Beatles.
The similarity of both names and logotypes were object of long lawsuits for years. This doesn´t sounds quite well for what supposedly was a tribute in sign of admiration.
Other versions relate Apple and Alan Turing, considered one of the most influential people in computing. In 1954, Turing ate a poisoned apple with cyanide…
Marketing is a exact science since several decades ago, specially developed in the United States, cradle of the greatest comercial brands throughout the history. The fact that there are several versions explaining the Apple´s logos is itself a reason to doubt about the solvency of such explanations.
When it comes to the version in the 2011 Steve Jobs´biography, it is possible that in the very beginning, the Apple´s founders didn´t have enough money to hire an advertising company to design the logo. But the point is that the apple continued being the corporate symbol up to now, when the marketing is a core policy that counts on huge resources to develop it.
It is also striking the poor space the book dedicates to the logo and name of the company, treated as an improvised issue and almost as a coincidence: Jobs and Wozniak, the founding partners, had just one afternoon to think about it. Jobs came back in the morning from pruning the apple trees of the garden in Oregon. Is this the reason of the name and logo of Apple?
In addition, it is well known -and in the biography is clearly explained- how meticulous was Steve Jobs, obsessed with the tiniest detail. According to this version, nor he or his partner Wozniak thought a name and a logo for their company until the afternoon before the registration day. Unlikely.
It is even more remote the version connecting the Apple´s logo with the Beatles´ Apple Corps, regardless the admiration from Jobs. Millions spent in claims and lawsuits for years aren´t the logical destination for something done as a tribute. This version also collides with the “think different” motto, the innovation and developing new thinks featuring the Job´s Apple.
The version linking Apple to the scientist Alan Turing is one of the most widely refused. To make a tribute to a scientist is also remote, despite of how important he was in technology history. But, paradoxically, this version may be more reliable than any other, including the official version.
The real meaning of Apple remains in Newton and… the Bible!
In front of these versions, there is a chain of reasoning giving to Apple and its logo a complete meaning within the philosophy of the company that will put Apple -some think it already is- in a relevant position in the planet´s history. This is, indeed, closer to Steve Job´s personality and aspirations.
According to this argument, Apple and Steve Jobs are intentionally incorporated to the greatest personalities in the history: Galileo, Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Franklin,…
Each of these personalities gather in a sublime way scientific disciplines, arts and humanities. Men of God and, at the same time, creators of scientific improvements which changed his time. This fact, to revolutionize the established rules, leaded in many cases to disputes with the static casts in each age, mainly the ecclesiastical.
Among these personalities, Apple chose one of them as guide to try to become a member of the selective group of enlightened ones: Isaac Newton. Physician, mathematician, astronomer, theologist and alchemist of the 17th century. Maximum expression of sciences and humanities met one person.
In 1687, Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, where he unveiled the Law of Universal Gravitation; theory which he discovered years before throughout the well known incident of the apple fallen from a tree.
This is not the first time in which an apple is a symbol of enlightenment:
- Genesis 2,9: “Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil“
- An apple tree giving access to knowledge: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3,5).
- But God had forbiden Adan to eat its fruits: “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Genesis 2,17).
A forbidden apple of knowledge. The same poisoned fruit that Alan Turing ate in 1954 to die. The same fruit which revealed Newton the law of gravity three centuries ago. The same fruit that appears in the Apple´s logotype; bitten, as a way to revolt against the established ideas, join the selective group of genius and, all together, to change the world.
By the way, the Apple´s logo wash´t always the bitten apple. The first Apple´s logotype shows Isaac Newton sat under a tree, with an enlightened apple about to fall over his head and unveil him the gravity theory:
This logo lasted just several months until it was substituted by the bitten apple.
The real meaning of Apple is not officially explained nor disseminated throughout versions of public acceptance. However, it is permanently present in the phrases, citations, interviews, lectures of the company´s spokespersons -Steve Jobs years ago and Tin Cook now- published in the most spread publications. It is in from of us.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” (Leonardo da Vinci)
“I would trade all my technology for an afternoon with Socrates” (S. Jobs).
“Am willing to tear down walls, build bridges, and light fires” (S. Jobs).
“Great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were also great at science. Michelangelo knew a lot about how to quarry stone, not just how to be a sculptor. In fact some of the best people working on the original Mac were poets and musicians on the side” (S. Jobs).
And many more talking about changing the world, to leave a legacy in the universe, illumination paths, to exchange humanities and technology,…
Just one more think: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”. Is Steve Jobs challenging us to revolt against the established rules and bite the forbidden apple of knowledge?
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