View Full Version : Why is it called a "Macintosh"?

04-25-2005, 09:43 PM
Hi All,

Anybody know why these machines becames known as Macintosh, when the company name is Apple?



04-25-2005, 10:00 PM
one possibility, Macintosh is an apple variety, so ... (but no Apple called a Granny Smith, or Red Delicious that I can recall)

04-25-2005, 10:08 PM
See the article titled "Bicycle" at folklore.org:

04-25-2005, 10:10 PM
A "McIntosh" is a variety of Apple. As to why they chose to spell it "Macintosh" instead of the same way as the fruit, I've heard different stories: that there was some kind of trademark consideration that was effectively avoided with the different spelling (seems unlikely to me); that the first three letters are also some kind of acronym, like Mouse Accessible Computer (not sold on that one either); that someone at Apple didn't know how the apple varietal McIntosh was spelled (for the third time, unlikely: it would've been caught by someone during the process of vetting the brand name for conflicts).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so to speak, Apple already had a sequence of computers simply called "Apples": the primitive Apple I, the highly successful Apple II, and the new but already-disastrous Apple III. Then they had their first modern GUI computer, the Mac's immediate precedessor, the Lisa. With the Lisa and the Mac, I think the company wanted to signal a clean break from the legacy of the computers simply called "Apples": this was not to be thought of as Iteration #4 in the continuing development cycle of the Apple, it was a radical paradigm shift.

So why (you may ask) didn't they call the new model the Angela or the Susan or something, or perhaps the Lisa II or the Lisette, perhaps? Well.... like the Apple III, the Lisa was not exactly setting the world on fire the way the Apple II had, so it probably wasn't a legacy the company wanted to echo. But that's not necessarily why, either. The Mac's development cycle began before the Lisa was unveiled, and may have already received the name before the Lisa had a chance to tank badly in the market.

Conclusion: I don't really know either :p

04-25-2005, 10:22 PM
Interesting story from folklore.org. I also had read that the proper spelling of the variety of apple fruit was not available for legal reasons.

Lisa by the way, was named after Lisa Jobs, Steve's daughter.

04-25-2005, 10:23 PM

I had a look at the Bicycle article and it sounded very plausible - what I mean is: Is that site considered to be "the last word"?

Thanks for the feedback Gents!

04-25-2005, 10:55 PM
I had a look at the Bicycle article and it sounded very plausible - what I mean is: Is that site considered to be "the last word"?

The site is by Andy Hertzfeld who was one of the original Apple employees developing the Mac:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Hertzfeld
So, yes, it is generally considered an authoritative account.

04-25-2005, 11:17 PM
Thanks again hayne; much appreciated.

......I wonder who owns "steve@mac.com"?


Cheers All,

04-26-2005, 01:49 AM
A copy of mail with a lot of spam rules....? :p

try http://homepage.mac.com/steve/ (look at the resumé ;))

04-26-2005, 06:18 PM
My made-up theory is that they called in "Macintosh" instead of McIntosh since it sounds better.

I mean, PowerMc isn't much of a name.. nor iMc. But then again, there is the Big Mac at McDonald's.. Maybe they're interchangable. :)