We’ll start with Apple, for obvious though un-alphabetical reasons. Why name a computer company after a fruit? Was it to be at the start of all computer lists in the same way that business directories start with swathes of names such as of AAA111 Cabs and the not-so-smart AAA112 Taxis? Apparently not, and Acorn would have jumped in ahead of it anyway. 


Battery  Keep up to date with your email, impress girls in Starbucks, or replace your desktop entirely – these are just some of the fine things that an Apple laptop can do for you. One of the things you don’t want your trusty portable device to do is burst into flames. At the very least it’s embarrassing having to throw your laptop into the air, jumping around screaming like Steve Ballmer, as it crackles and pops with flames licking the screen. At its worst you might have neither a lap nor a top. The PowerBook 5300 was the butt of many laptop insider jokes after some of its new lithium ion batteries caught fire on the assembly line. The phrase ‘battery life’ took on a whole new meaning. 

>>>Read more here: Apple’s brilliant buzzy Bs


Chiat\Day  If Mad Men was set in California Don Draper’s company would be Chiat\Day, Steve Jobs’ favourite advertising agency. Run by “bearded ad man in flip-flops” Lee Clow, Chiat\Day created the ‘1984’ Super Bowl ad that launched the Macintosh, and the comeback ‘Think Different’ campaign (See Crazy Ones, below) and others since, such as the now mildly annoying ‘Get a Mac’ series.

>>>Read more here: Apple’s crazy, crappy Cs


Dell Asked at an investor conference in late 1997 what newly returned Steve Jobs should do as head of Apple, mass PC maker Dell’s founder and CEO Michael Dell quipped, “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

>>>Read more here: Apple's dog-tagged Ds


E is for education  Apple used to be the major player in the educational IT market. Even at its lowest point in 1997, 60 per cent of all US school computer sales went to Apple. Half of Apple’s US sales in the 1980s were through education. In the early 1990s a third of the company’s revenue was from education.

>>>Read more here: Not all Es are good, Apple


Nothing polarises Apple Fanboys more than the Apple versus Microsoft argument. For so long marginalised as the pitied minority platform, users of Apple hardware and software defended their honour by slavishly worshipping the company and demonising its arch nemesis Microsoft.

>>>Read more here: I know F-all about Apple


G3   The G3 became famous as the processor in the original bubble-shaped iMac in 1998. The Power Mac G3 was itself redesigned in 1999 to look more funky, with the blue-and-white semi-translucent Power Mac G3 even displaying the G3 proudly on its side. Some people thought the G and 3 either side of the large Apple logo resembled Mickey Mouse ears and reckoned this was a Dan Brown-like clue that Disney was in the frame to buy Apple. Obviously, it wasn’t.

>>>Read more here: Reaching Apple's G spot


Hair Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Woz) were both once very hairy, sporting beards and wayward head hair. When you work in a dusty garage nobody’s going to march you to the barbers. And when you run a multi-billion dollar business, the clippers aren’t mentioned either. Woz has remained consistently hairy, while Jobs has toyed with his barnet depending on the latest fashion: 1970s Steve was much hairier than clean-cut 1980s and 1990s Steve. A beard – this time in grey – returned between 2003-6, but the once-luxurious hair had started thinning on his return to Apple in 1997. In comparison Bill Gates has stuck with his boyish, hairless chin from the very start and has a hairstyle so boring it’s impossible to recall.

>>>Read more here: Apple's explosive H Bomb


IBM  As the Rebel, Apple needs an Evil Empire to publicly confront. Famously this is Microsoft, plus Intel for the Wintel PC and processor partnership. But in the beginning the big baddie was IBM. In contrast to colourful, healthy Apple even its name was boring with a shadow of brutality: International Business Machines.

>>>Read more here: Apple's eye for an 'i'


Jaguar  When Apple started giving versions of its new operating system code-names linked to ferocious cats this was just some feline amusement for the developers and project team. The Public Beta of Mac OS X wasn’t a great start with its code name Kodiak referring to a bear, but version 10.0 (that’s version 1.0 in reality) was Cheetah, and 10.1 was Puma.


Kare   Not many people have heard of Susan Kare but we all see her work every day, as she designed many of the interface elements, fonts and icons of the early Macintosh, some of which survive to this day.


LaserWriter   Apple hasn’t just made computers, phones, tablets and iPad cases. It used to make printers, too, and in many ways it was the LaserWriter, and not the Mac itself that really got Apple’s new computing platform up and running in 1985. The Mac was fine and fancy, cute and cool, but the LaserWriter was actually a useful, professional tool.

>>>Read more here: Apple: to L and back


Macintosh  In the past Apple didn’t think so hard about its product names: the Apple I was followed by the Apple II, and Apple III. The Lisa was named after a child, for goodness sake – possibly Steve Jobs’ child but equally possibly one of the engineer’s kids, or maybe a cat. The Macintosh was named after a type (or, more appropriately for a company run by Jobs, a ‘cultivar’) of apple.

>>>Read more here: Mmmmmmm… Apple


Nano   Apple shocked the gadget world in 2005 when it scrapped its best-selling iPod, the iPod mini, for an altogether different product, the iPod nano. Apple probably thought ‘mini’ was just not small enough to describe the new miniscule – I mean nanoscule – MP3 player. The nano was smaller than the mini – although it was only 0.1in shorter.

>>>Read more here: Apple’s N of the road


Out   The media fascination with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reached a new high on news of his August 2011 resignation as CEO. Apple is doomed, cried many. It’s business as usual, calmed others. But Steve has resigned before – and then he left the company altogether (he remains as chairman today, although in poor health). What was the outcry then? Not so different, but certainly less affectionate.

>>>Read more here: Oh no! ‘O’ is for ‘Out’


PC  Seemingly the opposite of the Mac and everything Apple, of course the term PC or Personal Computer applies just as much to Apple as it does Microsoft, Windows and the legion of dull, beige (now plasticky grey/silver) boxes called PCs. In fact, there’s no computer more personal than one of Apple’s, be it a Mac, iPhone or iPad – for all are personal computers. Unlike Microsoft, Dell, HP et al, Apple somehow builds not just personification but personality into its computers and its brand. DOS and Windows PCs are faceless. The Mac not only had a face, it even said “Hello”.

PageMaker  Aldus Corporation, developer of PageMaker, the software that kickstarted desktop publishing, was named after Aldus Manutius, the inventor of italic type and the semicolon.

>>>Read more here: Apple gives Ps a chance


Quadra  Before Steve Jobs simplified the company’s product range (see below) Apple gave its computers all sorts of nonsensical names, like Centris and Performa. One name that could at least be explained was the Quadra, which used Motorola’s 68040 processor – hence the ‘quad’. The Quadra line of pro desktop Macs was the last before Apple moved to superior PowerPC chips. The Quadra 630 was the first Mac to ditch internal SCSI disk drives for IDE. And that’s about as interesting as the Quadra got.

Quartz   The graphics and imaging engine at the heart of Mac OS X. It replaced previous imaging technology QuickDraw. Those guys really loved the letter ‘Q’.

>>>Read more here: Apple Qs round the block


Radius  There was once a day when computer displays were sexy – in a geeky way, of course. Mainly those monitors were made by Radius. We shouldn’t be surprised that this company’s products were cool, as it was set up by a breakaway bunch of brilliant engineers from Apple’s original Macintosh team, including Burrell Smith (Mac motherboard maven), Andy Hertzfeld (self-proclaimed “Software Wizard”), Mike Boich (the first Apple Evangelist), Matt Carter (digital type guru, and designer of Verdana), Alain Rossmann (the brains behind WAP), and others.

Its first product was a game changer – the Radius Full Page Display, which was the first large screen for a PC and pioneer of multiple-screen computing. Its next monitor was the Radius Pivot. Believe me, if you were using a Mac in the late 1980s you wanted a Radius Pivot. The full-page Pivot could be rotated 90° between landscape and portrait modes, with real-time remapping of icons, menu, and screen drawing. This stuff still ?looks cool on an iPad. Twenty years ago it made grown DTPers and designers faint with envy. It was designed by Terry Oyama, who helped design the original Mac case.

>>>Read more here: Apple gets the right Rs


Safari  In 2003 Apple released its own browser called Safari. Surfin’ Safari. Surfing the web. Geddit? As of October 2011 Safari accounts for nearly 9 per cent of web traffic, behind Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. However, as the browser on Apple’s iPhone it accounts for a massive 62 per cent of all mobile traffic.

Sagan  Superstar space gazer Carl Sagan was annoyed when he learned that the Power Mac 7100/66 was code-named after him. He wrote to Apple demanding it change the code name. Apple’s project engineers changed the name to BHA, standing for ‘Butt-Head Astronomer’. In April 1994 Sagan sued Apple for defamation of character, but lost.

>>>Read more here: Apple’s crazy S words


Tangerine   Apple is usually very particular about its colours, favouring a strict monochromatic policy ruled with an iron – or more likely a brushed aluminium – fist. From 1984 to 1990 just about every Apple product (except for its lurid logo) had to conform to the Snow White design language, which pinpointed exactly the correct tone of white or near beige the casing should be in. This was all down to Steve Jobs’ severe notion of perfect aesthetic beauty.

So it was more than a small surprise when on his return he launched a series of translucent, vibrantly coloured computers that shocked the tech world, and went on to revolutionise all sorts of consumer gadgetry.

>>>Read more here:  It’s T time for Apple


Apple has always had a soft spot for music (see also Unuson below). Its founders were brought up in Sixties California, raised on Beach Boys, Beatles and Bob Dylan. But the company got stuck on its reverence for these golden oldies, missing out on the charms of Abba, the Bee Gees and Spandau Ballet… until Steve Jobs did get a taste of the Irish with a dalliance with U2.

In 2004 U2 wanted to push its new LP How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and realised the hottest place for airplays was no longer the radio but on the iconic TV ads for Apple’s iPod. Bono visited Steve Jobs and suggested that the company break from its silhouettes of dancers to include the same of the artists themselves.


Don Valentine is known as the “grandfather of Silicon Valley venture capital” – not exactly as sexy a title as “The Godfather” but obviously prestigious in terms of the technology business.

The Computer History Museum credits him for his part in playing “a key role in the formation of a number of industries such as semiconductors, PCs, software, digital entertainment and networking.”


Wayne  Ronald Gerald Wayne is the pretty much unknown co-founder of Apple Computer, quite rightly over-shadowed by the two Steves: Jobs and Wozniak. Wayne worked with Steve Jobs at Atari, and was a pivotal figure in Apple’s incorporation. He designed and drew Apple’s first logo (not the good one, the one showing Sir Isaac Newton under an apple tree), composed the original Apple partnership agreement, and wrote the Apple I manual. His principal duties were for Mechanical Engineering and Documentation.

Jobs was impressed that “amazing” Wayne had started his own company, selling slot machines, and wanted him to give Apple some “adult supervision”.

>>>Read more here: Wow! www.apple.com


Mac OS X Apple had been planning to completely rewrite its Mac operating system since 1987, and had got itself in a right old mess with a project called Copeland that was about as successful as a North Korean rocket launch. 

>>>Read more here Apple's X Factor Talent Show


Yacht Steve Jobs didn’t seem the ostentatious sort. Indeed he lived for a long time in a house with practically no furniture, let alone a gold-lined Jacuzzi. For his last 20 years he lived modestly with his family in a simple country house in Palo Alto. Nicer than your house, yes, but not somewhere Donald Trump would feel at home.


Zany Apple has always been too cool to be wacky or zany. Look at dull old Microsoft – it tries to be zany every now and again, with cringeworthy results. Steve Jobs appeared the very opposite of zany, although not deathly dull like his successors John Sculley, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio. Steve was cool, not fool.