Have you ever wondered what’s the logic behind Apple’s bitten apple logo? There have been myths and there have been theories. One enduring myth is that the logo was a tribute to Alan Turing, inventor of the enigma code-breaker computer, which some attribute as the pre-cursor to the modern computer. Alan was a brilliant mathematician and electrical engineer, but he lived at a time when his homosexuality was not accepted. Sadly, ten years after his brilliant achievement of breaking the German communications code, he took his own life by biting into an apple he had poisoned with cyanide. A good story, but the story was never confirmed by a Steve Jobs.
Who designed the Apple logo?
Perhaps the best answer comes from the person who designed the logo. His name is Rob Janoff and, although there is some conjecture on why Jobs settled on an apple in the first instance, he says the reason for the bite is clear. He is on the record as saying it was to give the logo scale as an apple. Without the bite, the logo could be mistaken for a cherry. With the addition of a bite, it is clear that the shape is an apple. Rob Janoff said:
Anyway, when I explain the real reason why I did the bite it’s kind of a letdown. But I’ll tell you. I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple, not a cherry. Also, it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience.
A tribute to Newton
The logo has been redesigned a couple of times, the original logo before the bitten apple logo was a tribute to Newton. The first Apple logo was designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, sometimes referred to as the third co-founder of Apple. The logo depicts Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, an apple dangling precipitously above his head. The phrase on the outside border reads, “Newton… A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.”
The main idea behind the name ‘Apple’ came from the story of an apple falling on Newton’s head. Apple later changed that logo to the bitten apple because he wanted people to think Apple as a consumer-friendly company.
Here’s the Newton logo:
Apple logo symmetry
The reason behind the bitten apple logo can be symmetry. Here is the Apple logo without the bite:
While it is perfectly symmetrical, it looks lopsided. The right side looks slightly higher than the left side. It looks like its tilted. However, when you add the bite:
It looks perfectly straight and symmetrical (minus the bite). Apple needed the iconic stem on the apple in their logo, When they added the stem to a full apple, the apple logo had the appearance of lopsided, tilted, and out of proportion.
However, when you add the bite, it removed the illusion of symmetry making the Apple logo look normally balanced and proportional.
Another theory is that the bitten apple logo represented Steve Job’s and Steve Wozniak’s attitude to business. Both were driven individuals who were keen to “take a big bite out of the apple”. However, there is no evidence to support this theory.
Another theory is that the apple, repeat with a big bite, represents the apple of knowledge eaten by Adam and Eve. Taking a bite from the forbidden fruit lead to their enlightenment, albeit at the annoyance of their god.
The Apple logo lawsuit
Before Jobs and Wozniak started Apple Computer there was a company started by the Beatles (John, Paul, George, and Ringo) for their business interests. It was called Apple Corps (haha, Apple “Core”, still exists) and has the following logo:
Once Apple Computer came along, they were sued by Apple Corps due to the similarity. The lawsuits continued until –
“On 5 February 2007, Apple Inc. and Apple Corps announced a settlement of their trademark dispute under which Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to “Apple” and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. The settlement ends the ongoing trademark lawsuit between the companies, with each party bearing its own legal costs, and Apple Inc. will continue using its name and logos on iTunes.” –
The agreement was Apple Corps will use a whole apple, and Apple Computer will use the bitten apple you see. The mono-color Apple Computer logo also helps distinguish it from the full-color Apple the Beatles used.
This also cleared the way for the Beatles music to appear on iTunes.
Apple’s logo design history
The multi-colored Apple logo was in use for 22 years before it was axed by Steve Jobs less than a year after his return to Apple in 1997. In its place was a new logo that did away with the colorful stripes and replaced it with a more modern monochromatic look that has taken on a variety of sizes and colors over the past few years. The overall shape of the logo, however, remains unchanged from its original inception 33 years ago.
The bitten apple logo may have had quite a history, a history whose parts remain unknown to people. However, it has not stopped the logo from being recognized all over the world. In fact, the company does not even have to print its name alongside the logo. The logo itself already tells it all.