One of the questions that is heard most often was: “Why an apple”? Steve Jobs didn't shine with patience, as everyone who worked with him knows. Yet he never tired of answering this question: “Why an apple”?
Early 1970s, California. It is the right place and time for those who want to make a dream come true. Steve knows little about the future but feels the pangs of hunger very well. He lives by begging for plates of soup at the Buddhist temple and collecting cans which he resells for a few cents. At the end of the day, there is little left in your pocket. “There were these friends who hosted me. At the local market you could buy a little beer and a bag of apples with two dollars. So, for many months, that was my diet”…
A few years later, in Cupertino, Steve meets another Steve (Wozniak) and together they start a hardware company. The day they decide on the name, Jobs doesn't stop humming John Lennon's Imagine . “You like the Beatles, huh?”, Wozniak asks him. Jobs shrugs, glosses over his friend's ignorance and smiles: "Apple, that's what we'll call it!", taking inspiration from Apple Records, the label developed by the Beatles in 1968.
A few months later, in Jobs' garage, there is still discussion. “Okay, Apple. And the logo”? Regis McKenna, a marketing guru at the time, drew a tree, a man leaning against the trunk and a large apple hanging over his head. He is Newton, the man who changed science. But it is a complex design, not easy to decipher, a bit bizarre. First man is excluded, then the tree is excluded. The apple remains. They decide to do other tests, but the result dissatisfies them: “You can't tell if it's an apple, a cherry or a peach. Something is missing". They add a leaf: things improve but the confusion remains. Luckily, beer and friends exist to discuss anything. That evening we talk about what the newspapers write about Alan Turing, the man who invented the method for building computers, who died 22 years earlier. “It seems that it wasn't a suicide and that they killed him”… “And how would they have done it”? “It seems that under his bed they had found a freshly bitten poisoned apple”… “Ah, this would be good: Turing like Adam, Eve and Snow White”… The bitten apple… This is what was needed: the bite would have given an idea of the proportions and clarified which fruit it was, and the logo would be imbued with symbols and promises. “Later it was evident - Jobs would say years later - that we had done Bingo. The apple is considered a healthy food, but at the same time everyone thinks of the forbidden fruit of Paradise. To me it reminded me of the difficult times of college, to Woz it reminded me of the greatness of a genius in our field. And in the end it brought with it the slogan that made us famous: Take a Bite of Apple !
The drawings that accompany this article are by Carlotta Notaro and are taken from the book I am Steve Jobs by Alberto Bertolazzi, a biography "told in the first person" by the Apple guru.