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David Emery

The Legend of the Apple Logo

By June 23, 2012

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Apple Logo

Reposted to commemorate the 100th birthday of Alan Turing, born June 23, 1912:

For years it has been rumored that Apple's iconic logo, a stylized, solid white apple missing a bite on one side, was inspired by circumstances surrounding the death of Alan Turing, the groundbreaking mathematician and computer scientist who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple in 1954.

Not so, says the man who actually created the logo, graphic designer Rob Janoff, who laughs it off as "a wonderful urban legend." The concept was purely visual in inspiration, he says, with the bite taken out only to provide scale so the apple wouldn't be mistaken for a cherry.

CNN's Holden Frith tells the true story.

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Comments

October 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm
(1) 4Truth&Justice says:

I like Apple computers, I’ve bought several over the past 13 years. They are mostly over-priced in comparison to the rest in the PC market place but are also more user friendly. I also own an iPod – which was a gift, not a purchase.

I laugh though when I see people lauding Steve Jobs as “an inventor” or as having left a “legacy.” I see some writers putting such terms to use – apparently they don’t know what an invention is or what “legacy” means when used in the positive sense. I also see people assuming he “worked on” the first Apple computers. I believe even Steve Wozniak would say that he did most or all of the actual design and assembly work when they got started together. Jobs was an “idea man” who thought up new ways to make existing technology more appealing and he certainly knew how TO SELL whatever product he was touting. He hired people (engineers) to do what he told them to make existing technology more appealing so they’d sell better.

Jobs never affected “The World” – which is 90% composed of people who either never heard of Apple, its products or its chairman or who don’t like Apple’s products or who can’t afford them. He did affect “the Apple World” he created: the few million people who are so caught up in buying stuff that they “bite” on every “apple” thrown their way by the late Mr. Jobs.

October 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm
(2) Judith K. Bogdanove says:

Just because not everyone in the world is aware of how they’ve been influenced by Steve Jobs, whether they are Apple users or not, doesn’t mean they haven’t been influenced. Most people’s lives are affected every day by technology and artforms he envisioned. Never before in history has there been a public outpouring of personal grief for an industrialist. Even today, people are bringing apples, old laptops and phones, flowers, post-it-notes, and photos to place in front of Apple Stores in every city.

October 13, 2011 at 9:00 am
(3) Barbara says:

I have 3 Apple Computers – the 2000 iMac version, the 2004 iBook version and the 2007 Mac Book Pro version. All three very good computers. I prefer the Apple computer compared to the Windows PC – easier to use and handle. And for me, it can do everything that the Windows computer does.

October 13, 2011 at 9:52 am
(4) bob says:

Considering the Steve Jobs essentially stole the ideas of much of what went into the original Apple computers from XEROX ( who essentially gave away a multi-billion dollar company for nothing ) – it is funny to see how Mr. Jobs gets all the credit. W did much of the programming and inventing- Jobs was a spiritual guy who appeared more interested in karma, going to retreats and presenting the appearance of added value to what was simply already done elsewhere by others. Mr. Jobs was the front guy – the ‘visionary” while the others appear to be happy to let him get all the credit.
He contributed much- but as with most ‘new’ things- he merely borrowed from others, hired others to build it, stuck shiny stuff on it, and sold it for a substantial profit.

October 13, 2011 at 11:47 am
(5) mary says:

Mr. Jobs may not have invented a better mousetrap, I don’t know, but he certainly knew what it took to promote and sell it.

October 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm
(6) John Ferman says:

Oh shucks, I thought tge bite from the apple had something to do with Adam and Eve. Sigh.

October 19, 2011 at 10:02 am
(7) Ron says:

On certain occasions, I, Ron, consider the Apple logo, and see, odd as it may seem, the image of someone, you know, thoughtfully, and quietly, pecking, you know, at a keyboard, as the heart burns, brightly, in, you know, the background. I, Ron, on other occasions, while thinking of Ariana Grande, who I, Ron, love, consider the Apple logo, and see, strange as it may seem, a tiny, alien, flying saucer, about to enter a bird’s eye.

To amuse Ariana Grande, who I, Ron, really do love, I, Ron, consider the bird, not, as one might think, one of those annoying pigeons, on the grass, in Gertrude Stein’s poem, or, even, one of those nondescript pigeons in James Thurber’s comment on that poem, but, instead, as one of those colorful little ratbirds from “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.” Because, you know, Ariana Grande loves sci-fi.

And, as I, Ron, walked along the beach, with my wife, Miranda, while she hummed, “Raining Sunshine,” I, Ron, thought, about the legend. And, by “the legend,” I, Ron, intend, neither the legend of the Apple logo, nor the legend of the death of Alan Turing, but, rather, the legend that the theory of computation developed by Turing, and others, is correct.

It is, I, Ron, know, only a legend. Love, and life, itself, are proof. You can count on that.

As Miranda, and I, Ron, her husband, walked, along the beach, we saw many people. A traveling tangram salesman, a young man, Isaac, playing with a prism, someone making board games, and a small group considering a cloud. As we approached them, I, Ron, spoke softly, to my wife, Miranda, about the Johnson “Daisy” ad, because, you know, there is no need to shout.

It was a fascinating conversation.

Later, as my wife, Miranda, slept, I, Ron, for some reason, watched the video of Miranda Cosgrove at MarktBeauty. And, I, Ron, thought, about necessity, and a butterfly, named “Wings of Tranquility.”

Joy to you, Rose.

June 23, 2012 at 6:05 am
(8) Jose Contreras says:

I hope you know that anything from Pixar wouldn’t exist without Job’s input either. Think about how much influence Pixar movies have over the wold

June 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm
(9) geezer nerd says:

I am surprised throughout this discussion that there is no mention of the much earlier rainbow-colored Apple logo. Apparently Apple did not go monochromatic until 1998.

June 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(10) BVC says:

You forget about the story of the apple orchard : After dropping out of college, Steve Jobs supposedly spent time working on an apple orchard. When he and Wozniak were brainstorming a name for their new startup, Wozniak remembered that Steve suggested the name ‘apple”—Apple Computer. They tried to come up with more technical-sounding names, but couldn’t think of any. “Apple was so much better, better than any other name we could think of. So Apple it was. Apple it had to be.”

June 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm
(11) Renato Borges says:

Non sense, 4Truth&Justice, the tablets and smartphones as we know today was a Jobs idea. In a few years it will change the whole world, maybe we won’t even use desktops in future.

November 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm
(12) les wigmore says:

APPLE? most innovations and ideas, came along before apple…

anyone remember sir clive sinclair, first ever home computer…

other comps spring to mind. dragon 32/64 – oric 1 & oric atmos – apricot (yes) another fruit..

with all the court cases kicking at moment, i seriously think that apple have bitten a bit more then they can chew. rotten is the word that springs to mind.

i think apple products are simple (old bloke style) thats not a bad thing, but the battery? the root access? Itunes? no updates? apple you lock us out and defect on our firmwares when you bring out new phones. this is not good, and a little bit like big brother.

nuff said

December 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(13) Paul V says:

As a former employee the story goes like this, i.e. where BVC has most of the details, but what about the bite in the Apple

It happend on the spur of the moment with their lawyer, while in his office filling out papers to record the company. As the deadline was approaching to complete the recording another name was the front runner but, like Steve hated it. Just so happend he was eating an apple at the moment and stated, if we can not come up with a better name then it will be Apple, as he raised his hand showing the missing bite.

January 12, 2013 at 11:47 am
(14) itunes for free says:

I go to see day-to-day a few websites and websites to read content,
however this website presents quality based writing.

March 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm
(15) Ian Watson says:

This legend never dies – on my blog last year I reported that the British celebrity Stephen Fry said on his BBC TV show QI that he’d asked Steve Jobs about the Apple logo and Turing. Jobs replied “It isn’t true, but God we wish it were!” http://goo.gl/JE6H4

October 5, 2013 at 9:20 pm
(16) Sheogorath says:

Oh, how disappointing. I always assumed it was down to Crapple accurately predicting Google taking a bite out of them with Android! Trololololol!

December 24, 2013 at 8:57 am
(17) Anders says:

Well.. high school programmer, class 1985 … and Macintosh user since 1983 (MAC 128 K, if I remember well the year).

I think that Apple DID change the world. I remember in the 90′s, when I was looking for a job as engineer, I didn’t consider some offers from companies that were using DOS (Windows was still something new). I didn’t want to program the PCs to write a letter, I wanted to use them.
Luckily now if you think this way, you can accept any job from anybody, so, I believe Apple DID change the world.

Some years ago, the company of a friend of mine, selected some mobile phones for the employees. The Apple Iphone (3 at that time) was not in tlhe list: “it doesn’t look serious for an engineer”… ?!? Now it is considered a serious product instead.

I mean, one think is to have one idea, one think is to believe in it.
I had thousend of ideas that I didn’t fght for, but that somehow have been realized by somebody else. I don’t think I have the right to say “it was my idea”, it would be too easy.

Steve Jobs believed in what very few people also believed (the first macintsh users), and were willing to spend much more money for that idea. I think it would be unfair to just say “he copied Xerox”.
Xerox didn’t believe in the concept, Steve did, and fighted for it.

For most of the people the life is just a business, I don’t care about my job, just let me get the money out of it, I don’t care about PC, let me just use it and have it cheap. There are some people that work with values first (and money come later) and Steve for me was one of them.

It’s easy today to be an Apple user, but this is the life. Som epeople with values, fighting for them, all other watching and acting as back-sit drivers.

Let Steve and Apple own what he has to own. I think it is fair.

Merry Xmas

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