The browser that we have all come to love (or hate in some cases), Safari, was originally slated to be called Alexander, iBrowse or even Freedom. The story comes from Don Melton, who was a software engineer who worked on Safari when it was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs eye.
For those thinking, those are some bad name choices, don’t forget that Jobs also wanted to called the original Macintosh “Bicycle” or “MacMan.” It is a good thing that Jobs didn’t just tread lightly when it came to naming his company’s products and considered often times dozens of names before choosing what he felt sounded best.
In fact, Jobs often times “started saying names out loud — trying them out to see how they felt in his mouth and to his ears. Which is not as odd as it seems — it’s a good technique.”
During the Summer of ‘02, Steve Jobs and the Apple management team realized that we were going to pull this off — we could actually ship a Web browser by the end of the year. And at one particularly good Human Interface design session, discussion turned to what we were going to call this — thing.
I don’t recall all the names, but one that stands out is “Freedom.” Steve spent some time trying that one out on all of us. He may have liked it because it invoked positive imagery of people being set free. And, just as possible and positive, it spoke to our own freedom from Microsoft and Internet Explorer, the company and browser we depended on at the time.
Of course, all I could think about was, “Please don’t let us name the browser after a feminine hygiene product!” But cooler heads and filthier minds prevailed.
Luckily the name Freedom was crossed off the list pretty early, but for the longest time both Alexander and iBrowse were top contenders. Can you image using a browser called Alexander or iBrowse? I personally wouldn’t have minded iBrowse, but using a browser named Alexander would seem a bit odd to me; especially because the story behind this name was never brought up. Drop us a line in the comments section below.