The iMac, launched in 1998, was a huge hit for Apple and for Steve Jobs, who had just recently returned to the company he had co-founded as its CEO. It was the product that began Apple's rise in both the tech industry and business in general. It also established the "i" branding that would later be extended to the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.
Ken Segall was the man who came up with the name iMac for the desktop PC product while he worked at Apple's ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He has now written a new book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, that goes on sale today. In an interview on the CNBC cable TV news network today, Segall revealed some of the other names that were considered for the new Apple PC.
One of the names Segall presented to Jobs at a meeting was MiniMac, which sounds a bit like the Mac Mini, the name that was later placed on another desktop PC that Apple released a few years later. Another name suggested by Segall, which he admitted turned out to be "lame" was the EveryMac, with the idea that this new Mac PC would be the "Mac for everyone."
Jobs also has his own idea for a name, the MacMan, which Segall felt didn't work either. The iMac name was also mentioned by Segall but ultimately Jobs didn't like any of Segall's suggestions at that meeting. A week later Segall brought up iMac again and Jobs then said, "Well, I don't hate it this week, but I don't like it either."
As it turned out, Segall found out the day after the meeting that Jobs was showing the iMac name silk screened on the prototype PC to people at Apple's offices. It was clear that Jobs grew to like the name and a worldwide brand was born.