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Byting the Apple

In response to:

The Real Legacy of Steve Jobs from the February 11, 2016 issue

To the Editors:


Regarding Sue Halpern’s review of books about Steve Jobs [NYR, February 11]:

I had one, albeit long-distance, encounter with Steve Jobs. I had come to the conclusion that the Apple logo with the bite out of the apple was a “pun.” A byte in computer lingo is eight bits, where a bit is one on–off unit of information. Things are often coded in bytes. So I asked Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs, to ask Jobs himself. He replied as follows:

I asked Steve Jobs this, and also about my daughter’s belief (shared by others) that the bitten apple was an homage to Turing. I have a graph about it in the intro of the book and a little bit more in the section on the logo design. As for a nod to Turing, he said that he wished they’d been clever enough to think of that, but they didn’t. As for the bite, he said they first looked at it without a bite, but it kept looking like a cherry to him; the bite made it look like an apple.

As for why he chose the apple as a name: he and Steve Wozniak were working on an apple commune at the time. Jobs liked the friendly sound of Apple as a computer name. Friendly and a bit quirky, causing people to take notice and be slightly amused. Plus it got them in front of Atari in the phone book.

Jeremy Bernstein
Aspen, Colorado