Mr. Lashinsky, it’s "i before CEO, but not ’til after iMac"

by Thomas Brady

EDIT: wqoq makes a good point in the comments below. Perhaps this is just poorly worded, but accurate, language.

From page 15 of Fortune editor at large Adam Lashinsky’s just-released Inside Apple (emphasis mine):

The next month, Apple announced that Jobs would become interim CEO of Apple until a suitable replacement could be found. It would be three years before Apple made Jobs the permanent CEO. Until then he was known around the company’s headquarters as Apple’s ‘iCEO,’ foreshadowing the i-nomenclature that would permeate Apple’s branding.

Um. No. I don’t think so. I didn’t think so, I should say. Now, I know it’s not so. Ken Segall has told the story of naming iMac a few times. It’s a great story. And Ken wouldn’t tell that story the way he does if the “i-nomenclature” had already existed. But I wasn’t going to rest on my conclusions. A quick Tweet to Ken:

@thomasqbrady: @ksegall Do you know if “iCEO” was in use before iMac was named (and I’m assuming iMac was the first iProduct)? 7:19 PM - 25 Jan 12 via Twitter for iPhone

The reply came fairly quickly:

@ksegall: Yes, iMac was the first i-thing. Steve was “interim CEO” at the start, but started to be called “iCEO” after iMac became a hit.

You may now accuse me of picking a nit, but in the history of Apple, the coining of the “i-nomenclature” marks several turning points all in one: the beginning of Jobs’s tour de force second term at Apple, the spinning up of one of the most powerful ad campaigns in history, the start of a revolution in the PC industry and the product roadmap that got us where we are today — one of the things the I stood for was the integration of the Internet as a core feature.

Seems like an important detail to get right. This book is off to a bad start for me.