The evolution of the Apple logo

Published: November 28, 2013

The man behind the apple. PHOTO: AFP

The man behind the apple. PHOTO: AFP The Apple logo at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco. PHOTO: AFP

The history of Apple logo is very unique. When Steve Jobs coined the name of his company, he was in talks with Steve Wozniak about the name.

When Jobs uttered the name ‘Apple’, Wozniak laughed and said,

‘It’s a computer company, not a fruit store.’

The Newton Crest logo (1976)

In 1976, Ronald Wayne, who is the third co-founder of the Apple Company, designed its first logo. It showed Sir Isaac Newton, sitting beneath the very tree from which an apple had fallen to his head and he revolutionised the laws of gravity.

If you look carefully, the phrase on the outside border reads,

‘Newton… A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought… alone’

The Rainbow logo (1976-1998)

After the Newton Crest, Jobs decided to explore something new, something different, for the logo. Hence, he hired Rob Janoff as the designer to come up with something modern. Little did he know that the logo he planned to design would become the most iconic logo in corporate history.

For years, there have been rumours that Apple’s iconic logo, a stylised apple which is bitten on one side, was inspired by the death of Alan Turing, the groundbreaking mathematician and computer scientist, who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple in 1954.

Rob Janoff laughed these rumours away by saying,

“What a wonderful urban legend.”

According to him, the bite on the Apple logo was to really let people know that it was an apple and not a cherry. The bite also played along with the computer buffs at that time because it had a similar sound off to the word ‘byte’, a unit of digital information in computing and telecommunication.

Source: Wikipedia

The story behind the ‘rainbow coloured’ Apple logo was that Jobs wanted everyone to ‘think different(ly)’,

“He wanted the green on the top because there was a leaf there”, explained Janoff.

The story behind the logo. PHOTO: Publicity

Jean-Louis Gassee, who was a former Apple executive and founder of Be Operating System (BeOS), says that,

“One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colours of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn’t dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope and anarchy.”

This logo was active for 22 years, from 1976 to 1998, after which it was shut down because during the 80s, Apple had become like the ship which was about to go under and sink into the sea’s inky abyss. The rainbow logo was proving to be too expensive, and so it had to be shut down.

The Monochrome logo (1998 – Present)

One of the main reasons for coming up with the monochrome logo was that the new Mac computers were being manufactured with metal casing instead of the plastic one and the sight of a rainbow logo on a metal computer did not fit well. These new logos were then embossed on the original Mac and the Mac Power Book G3 as well. This logo has been active since 1998 till present day.

Source: Wikipedia

Eventually, this logo had its repercussions. In 1967, The Beatles started a new multimedia company named Apple Corps Ltd. When Jobs began his company, in 1976, his choice of the same title and logo created conflict between the two companies.

This resulted in a series of lawsuits and tension between the two companies. The issues ended with a huge settling offer which Apple Inc. had to pay to Apple Corps Ltd in 2007.

So why keep ‘Apple’ as a name?

In a press conference in 1981, Jobs was asked why he named the company ‘Apple’.

To this he replied simply,

“I like apples and love to eat them. But the main idea behind the apple was to bring simplicity to the people, in the most sophisticated way and that was it, nothing else.”

His vision for the next generation computer was so far ahead that it was mind boggling for everyone. No one could think that far into the future, but he did, and hence his most quoted saying is also the most fitting one for his own life.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011). Photo: Publicity

So, while we worship some of the technological advances gifted to us by Apple, we never really knew how it came to be what it is today. Just the journey transitional journey of the logo shows how Apple has kept evolving- to date. If this journey of bending over backwards to maintain customer satisfaction continues, we will be very happy clients indeed.

Jahanzeb Tahir Aziz

Jahanzeb Tahir Aziz

A writer, poet , athlete and music composer. He tweets as @jt76007 (

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