There’s a great story about Steve Jobs and naming the computer that would eventually come to be called the iMac in a new book about Apple, available now. Ken Segall, who was one of the stars of TBWA\Chiat\Day, the ad firm that has handled most of Apple’s big products, worked for a long time with Steve Jobs and his company, trying to name this new groovy computer. Segall hit on the name “iMac” early on, but Jobs didn’t like it, and didn’t like any of the other names offered as well. He had one name that he liked, he told Segall: “If you can’t beat MacMan, that’s what it’s gonna be.”
Eventually, Jobs relented, but Segall says that he never officially agreed, of course. Because he’s Steve Jobs. One day, iMac was just the name, “and that was the end of the story.”
Looking back, MacMan is not quite right, but even Segall says he didn’t know that the “i-” prefix would come to be so “iConic.” In the end, he says, Jobs was “a smart guy who was willing to act on his common sense.” It’s a good thing that common sense held out in this case, otherwise you might be reading this on your PadMan.