The question still remains about what the "s" and the "c" stand for in the iPhone, though there are theories and evidence to back up several meanings. For the "i" Apple uses in the branding of its products, the answers have been revealed.
The meaning of the "i" in devices such as the iPhone and iMac was actually revealed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs a long time ago. Back in 1998, when Jobs introduced the iMac, he explained what the "i" stands for in Apple's product branding.
The "i" stands for "Internet," Jobs explained. The iMac's job was to make accessing the Internet simpler and more intuitive, though "intuitive" wasn't revealed to be one of the words represented by that "i."
"Even though this is a full-blooded Macintosh, we are targeting this for the number one use that consumers tell us they want a computer for, which is to get on the Internet - simply, and fast," Jobs said. "And that is what this product is targeted for."
But like "compact" and "cheap," some of the words thrown around for the "c" in devices like the iPhone 5c, the "i" has more than one meaning. It's just that "Internet" would be the first definition of the "i" if there was a dictionary on Apple terms.
Secondary meanings of the "i" include "individual," "inspire," "inform" and "instruct."
"'i' also means some other things to us," Jobs said. "We are a personal computer company, and although this product is born to network, it also is a beautiful stand-alone product. We are targeting it also for education. They want to buy these. And it is perfect for most of the things they do in instruction."
The "i" is one of Jobs' many legacies and current Apple CEO Tim Cook has been building his own, one of which includes a step away from the popular branding scheme. Back in 2014, when Cook and company introduced the company's first piece of wearable tech, Apple began to diverge from the path of the "i."
During the event in September of 2014, the industry was pretty convinced that Apple would debut its first smartwatch and its mobile payments system. Analysts and journalists guessed the company would stick with the "i" branding in naming the products "iPay," "iWatch," "iWallet" and so on - they were, of course, right on the product announcements but wrong on the branding.