Apple, as one of the most iconic brands in existence today, likely owes part of its success to the ubiquitous Apple logo. The technology company that Steve Jobs launched in 1976 with Steve Wozniak has become incredibly valuable with a $2.23 trillion market cap. But theories abound online as to the origin of the Apple logo. Why is there a bite out of the apple in the logo?
Although numerous theories have been raised about how the Apple logo came to be a partially-eaten apple, the reason is quite simple. Even if some theories are quite poetic, such as the bite being a nod to computer science legend Alan Turing, those stories are relegated to urban myth rather than fact.
Apple’s logo designer said the bite was to demonstrate scale.
The man responsible for designing the logo we all have known for decades as the image of the iPhone manufacturer, Rob Janoff, has explained his process in the past. He took about two weeks in the 1970s to design the apple, found it somewhat simple, and added the bite out of the side of the apple.
The apple is bitten in order to create a sense of scale, so the viewer can tell it’s an apple and not a cherry. Janoff also told CreativeBits that it was “kind of iconic” and the idea of biting into an apple was “something that everyone can experience. It goes across cultures.”
The original logo for Apple was a more complicated image including Isaac Newton’s apple drop and a hidden quote from the poet William Wordsworth. To replace that logo, Jobs hired Janoff and told him nothing other than to avoid making the logo cute.
The popular theory that Apple’s logo is an homage to Alan Turing is false.
One of the commonly circulated explanations for Apple’s half-bitten logo concerns the British mathematician Alan Turing. Made especially famous again by the 2014 film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Turing played a key role in the Allied victory over the Nazis during World War II.
Turing died in 1954 of cyanide poisoning, with a partially-eaten apple found nearby. Although his death has been commonly accepted as a suicide, the police never tested the apple for poison, calling into question the ruling of suicide as cause of death.
Nonetheless, some have claimed that Apple’s logo of the bitten apple is a nod to Turing’s contribution to computer science. Janoff has completely discredited this notion, however, so the logo is simply bitten to offer scale.
Janoff also acknowledged in the CreativeBits interview that some people believed the colored stripes on the apple were a symbol of gay pride, also for Turing. He said he had also learned Turing had an affinity for the story of Snow White and the poisoned apple. However, Janoff was clear that even though it might be a “letdown,” none of the Turing theories were true.
Another false, but popular idea is that the Apple logo is a play on the term “byte.”
Others speculate that the bite out of the apple in the tech giant’s logo is meant as a play on the computer term “byte.” Janoff also said this was false, and that he didn’t learn of the word “byte” until after the design was completed.