The Apple Macintosh or “Mac” line of computers was first introduced in 1984, but after nearly 40 years, not everyone knows the origin of the name.
How It Started
It all started when Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne founded Apple on April 1, 1976. It was Jobs who decided to name it “Apple” after a visit to an apple farm during a fruit-based diet. He also wanted the word “Apple” to appear before “Atari” in the phone book alphabet.
In 1979, an Apple employee named Jef Raskin began working on computer-related projects on Apple. In the interview in 2003, Raskin revealed the origin of the name he chose for the project.“I call the show ‘Macintosh’ because McIntosh is the name of the apple that I love to eat. And I realize if I have an apple, it must be delicious,” Jef said.
McIntosh Red, a variety of apples with red and green skin, is a typical Canadian apple, very popular in New England. This apple variety is named after John McIntosh – a Canadian farmer who discovered apples on his farm in 1811. In Gaelic (a common language in Western Scotland around the 5th and 6th centuries), McInstosh means “Son of the Chief”.
After choosing a name that suits his taste, Jef decided to add the letter “a” to form “Macintosh” to avoid the risk of copyright lawsuit with an audio company called McIntosh Laboratory in New York (USA). where he grew up.
Steve Jobs took over the Macintosh project in January 1981. Not long after that, he wanted to name the upcoming computer “Bicycle”, a reference to one of his favorite quotes: “A computer is a bicycle for the mind”. : “Computer is a bicycle for the mind”).
However, Macintosh programmers still wanted to use this codename and no one liked the name “Bicycle”. In the end, the Macintosh won. To avoid litigation problems, in 1982 Steve Jobs wrote a letter to McIntosh Laboratory asking to use the name “Macintosh”. After some negotiation, Apple was allowed to use the name in 1983, then bought the copyright in 1986.
From “Macintosh” to “Mac”
Since the inception of the Apple Macintosh brand in 1984, Apple employees, the media, and customers alike have preferred to call it “Mac” for convenience. This word is short, easier to pronounce, and gradually becomes an indispensable part. Subsequently released applications are also associated with the Mac prefix such as MacPaint, MacWrite…
Regarding the operating system, the platform was designed for only one type of computer, the Macintosh, so Apple initially called the first versions with a generic name like System 1, then changed it to Macintosh System Software or System Software. In 1997, the company decided to rename the operating system to Mac OS with the first version being Mac OS 7.6.
In 1998, iMac was born, marking a turning point when Apple decided to put the shortened word “Mac” officially attached to all computers manufactured by the company. This name is used on many other products known to this day such as the Power Mac G4, MacBook Pro.
Today, Apple simply calls its computer Mac, and few people see the company mention the word Macintosh anywhere when doing marketing.