The Apple Wireless Keyboard is now shipping. Here’s the unboxing of one of the very first, sent by a Giz reader. Looks as razor-sharp as when we had our first grope, but of course, still no sign of the “Apple” in the Command key. All thanks to Steve Jobs and swedish campgrounds full of sculptural blue-eyed blondes:
Yes, blame the swedes and Steve for the disappearance of the Apple logo in the Command key, a move that has been delayed for decades. When the Macintosh was first created the pirate crew behind it thought they needed a special key that would call commands without using the mouse, directly from the keyboard.
They called it the Apple key and they embedded a little Apple logo plus a letter next to each command in every menu. The objective was for expert users to learn this combinations to become faster while working. According to Andy Hertfeld, one of the geniuses behind the original Mac, one day Steve Jobs came into the software area in Bandley III. Zeus was upset, and with thunderous voice he said:
“There are too many Apples on the screen! It’s ridiculous! We’re taking the Apple logo in vain! We’ve got to stop doing that!”
They explained to him why they had the Apple logo there, but he was adamant. It had to be eliminated and replaced by something else: it diluted their brand and it just was bad bad bad. At that point Susan Kare had to pull one of her amazing graphic stunts. Susan, the artist who was mainly responsible for the bitmap icons in the Mac operating system, had to come with a solution fast because the symbol had to be used in everything: menus, manuals and, of course, the keyboards.
Finally she came across a floral symbol that was used in Sweden to indicate an interesting feature or attraction in a campground. She rendered a 16 x 16 bitmap of the little symbol and showed it to the rest of the team, and everybody liked it. Twenty years later, even in OS X, the Macintosh still has a little bit of a Swedish campground in it.
So there you go, there may not be an Apple logo in the Command key anymore, but at least you kept your swedish campground. The sculptural blue-eyed blondes, however, are yet to be found.
[FolkloreThanks for the photos, David]