Daily Archives:September 24th, 2001

Newton had an apple – did Turing?

Here’s some Net folklore….
On BBC Radio 4 this morning they were discussing Alan Turing, and said that the Apple Computer logo was actually a tribute to him. He committed suicide by taking a couple of bites out of an apple which was laced with cyanide. I read elsewhere that this is apparently repeated by Sadie Plant in her book ‘Zeroes and Ones’, with the additional assertion that the rainbow background is the symbol for homosexuality, accusations of which drove him to it.

Now this is a good story, but there’s a different account in the FAQ on the rather good www.apple-history.com site:

Steve Jobs had worked during the summer at an apple farm, and admired the Beatles’ record label, Apple. He also believed Apples to be the most perfect fruit. He and Steve Wozniak were trying to figure out a name for their new company, and they decided that if they couldn’t think of one by the end of the day that was better than Apple, they’d choose Apple. They couldn’t think of anything better, so on April 1, 1976, Apple Computer, Inc. was born.

But they needed a logo. The first design included Sir Isaac Newton, a tree and a banner that said “Apple Computer.” Jobs decided they needed a less busy logo, one that would signify a brand. The second logo attempt was very similar to the current logo, but without the bite taken out of it. Jobs thought this logo looked too much like an orange. The third attempt was the logo that Apple still uses.

Take your pick. Somehow, to me, the latter sounds more plausible, if only because it’s not quite so neat. If it happened today, of course, Jobs and Wozniak would have discovered that apple.com was already in use by a record company and would then have had to think of something much less elegantly simple.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser