Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs secures the Macintosh name

November 16, 1982: Intending to call Apple’s upcoming personal computer “Macintosh”, Steve Jobs is passionately praying to the audio company McIntosh Laboratory for permission to use that name.

You can probably guess how the discussions resulted!

McIntosh computer?

Before the iPhone, the Macintosh was Apple’s most famous product. The only problem? Back in the early 1980s, Apple didn’t actually have a name: it belonged to high-end audio equipment maker McIntosh Laboratory.

Originally, Apple planned to write Macintosh as McIntosh, since the name was a reference to the favorite apple variety of the project creator Jeff Raskin. Raskin named the project after the fruit because he thought that giving computers female names was sexist. However, learning of a possible trademark conflict with McIntosh forced him to change the spelling to “Macintosh”.

Raskin’s vision for the Mac was vastly different from Jobs ’wishes. From the very beginning, Raskin wanted to make a computer accessible to everyone. Jobs wanted a computer that would be the best in its category, no matter the price.

The two opposing goals had been on the road to conflict since September 1979. But one thing Jobs and Ruskin could agree on — the name — seemed like something no man could get.

Acquiring the name McIntosh was not the case that Apple just threw some money at a smaller company to buy its intellectual property. At the time, Apple was far less well known than it is today. And McIntosh Labs was a well-known entity to many customers.

Getting a Macintosh name

Apple bought the Macintosh name from McIntosh Laboratory, a manufacturer of high-end audio equipment
Apple bought the name “Macintosh” from a manufacturer of high-end audio equipment.
Photo: McIntosh

McIntosh Laboratory produced handmade audio equipment from its New York office. The company was best known for the black glass front panels of its hi-fi systems; high power and low distortion amplifier; and cult logo.

In his letter, Jobs – a well-known audiophile – wrote to McIntosh President Gordon Gow, saying: “We have become very attached to the name Macintosh. Much like our own child, our product has developed a very specific personality. ”

Had Gow not gone to Jobs’ overture overture, Apple’s backup plan might have seen the computer renamed “MAC,” meaning “computer activated by the mouse.” (Some people joked that it actually meant “Meaningless acronym computer.”)

Steve Jobs signs a contract with McIntosh Lab

Fortunately, Gow proved willing to talk. McIntosh eventually gave Apple the right to use the name “Macintosh” after the groceries. The price reportedly dropped between $ 100,000 and “significantly more”.

Apple finally released the Macintosh in 1984. Branding continues today, albeit in an abbreviated “Mac” format for the iMac, MacBook, and macOS.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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