Why is the Apple logo a bitten apple?

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Company logos sometimes make more, sometimes less sense at first glance. Choosing an apple as a company logo when your company is called Apple is far-fetched. But why, of all things, did the founders decide on a piece of fruit that had already been nibbled on?

First of all, we should perhaps clarify where the name Apple comes from in the first place. A company that stands for revolutionary technologies would at least not automatically be associated with fallen fruit.

Steve Jobs: Creative genius with a grip on reality
There is a little anecdote from Apple founder Steve Jobs about the company’s naming. In his biography Steve Jobs: The Authorized Biography of the Apple Founder, his creative inspiration is described as follows:

“I was once again on one of my fruit diets. I had just returned from the apple orchard. The name sounded friendly, peppy, and not intimidating. In the future, we would be in the phone book before Atari.”

The threat to use the name if no one came up with a better alternative seems to have fallen on deaf ears with his coworkers at the time, so the name stuck.

Sir Isaac Newton as inspiration
So, let’s get down to brass tacks: Why not a crisp, fresh apple that no one has ever nibbled on?

You’ll guess: Several stories floating around should provide an answer.

First, there is the homage to the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton. He developed the theory of gravity long ago when an apple fell from a tree onto his head.

That’s why the logo from 1976 is supposed to depict precisely this scene. Unfortunately, such an elaborately designed logo does not lend itself well to being displayed on products and packaging, which is why the simpler apple was chosen.

Word games and Alan Turing
Another theory also says that it is a kind of play on words. What we call a bite in German, our Anglophile friends translate as “bite.” Phonetically, it resembles the English word “byte,” i.e., the size unit of hard disks and USB sticks.

However, there is also a legend that the apple is a tribute to the British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who is considered the father of computer technology. Turing commits suicide by biting into an apple poisoned with cyanide. The legend still causes a lot of conversation today.

The wrong type of fruit: ruled out
In truth, it is much simpler than many think: In 1977, graphic designer Rob Janoff submitted two designs to the Apple makers: a whole apple and a bitten-off apple. The bitten-off part is supposed to prevent the apple from being mistaken for a cherry. Most of us can eat a cherry in one bite.

Those who adore apples and are of the right age will perhaps remember that the bitten-off apple was not always so elegantly monochrome.

From 1977 to 1997, Apple products (such as the Macintosh) were originally still adorned with a logo in rainbow colors. At the time, the bright colors supposedly stood for hope, but also anarchy and rebellion.

Another explanation, which may make more sense, is that computers back then were simply the first to be able to display colors on the monitor. The colorful apple is supposed to be a reference to this.

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