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This iconic apple has been linked to many myths – from Issac Newton to Adam and Eve, from Snow White to the code-cracking computing genius Alan Turing who died from a poisoned apple. What evidence is there for each of these stories?
#1 Forbidden Fruit – The Apple in the Garden of Eden
The “think different” slogan, temptingly-offered apple and bitten apple logo echo the story of Adam and Eve. Tempted into eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge they were expelled from Eden. This echoes an Ancient Greek myth of a golden apple tree where eating from it makes you immortal. Jobs’ biographer says he deliberately chose a bitten apple and some have seen this as a pun – ‘byte’ is the unit of digital information.
#2 Issac Newton’s Apple
In 1666 Newton saw an apple fall from a tree. This flash of inspiration led him to formulate gravity – the basis of modern science. He knew a force must be at work for “the apple draws the Earth, as well as the Earth draws the apple”. In his ‘’Principia’ Newton also brought us calculus, enabling computing. So in a timely tribute 300 years later the 1976 Apple logo showed Newton, staring up thoughtfully at the apple tree. The subtext seemed clear – Apple had seen his plans come to ‘fruition!’
#3 Alan Turing – Death By Poison Apple
Turing has mythic status for his genius code breaking machines in WW2 which led to the first computers. Despite his immense contribution to the War, he was persecuted for being gay. He was found dead from cyanide poison, a half eaten apple by his bed. Jobs was asked if this was the inspiration for the logo and replied: “We wish it were. It’s just a coincidence.“Turing’s friends claim he may have poisoned it to mimic his favorite story, Snow White, where she too is given a poison apple.
#4 The Real Story? An Apple Orchard
Steve Wozniak’s tells a different tale. Jobs was working on a fruit farm living a ‘fruitarian’ (fruit-only) diet. Jobs thought the name apple was “fun, spirited and not intimidating.” Apples are part of our national myth, “As American as Apple Pie’ and the myth of Johnny Appleseed the orchard planter. Apple programs used this name to embed the 1987 campaign linking Apple to misfits, geniuses and non-conformists:
So, is the myth solved? Well as Job’s noted even if it doesn’t link to all of these myths, it seems as if it should. The image of this bitten apple, is in “You Can’t Uneat The Apple“ by cult British band My Life Story: