Like other high-tech companies, Apple sometimes changes its logo to better express its brand and its current corporate personality. However, few of the logos from its silicon-era peers have undergone such a vast transformation as Apple.
A post by Alex Santoso on the Neatorama site tracks the logo evolution of a number of high-tech companies, including Apple. The article is filled with interesting history and observations.
The first Apple logo from the Homebrew Computer Club days was very romantic. It looks like something from another time — which the late 60s and early 70s were.
The first Apple logo was a complex picture of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. The logo was inscribed: "Newton … A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone." It was designed by Ronald Wayne, who along with Wozniak and Jobs, actually founded Apple Computer. In 1976, after only working for two weeks at Apple, Wayne relinquished his stock (10 percent of the company) for a one-time payment of $800 because he thought Apple was too risky! (Had he kept it, Wayne’s stock would be worth billions!)
Today's often-metalic Apple logo is all cleaned up now and not at all flag like. There's action in it with the shine and shadows. When compared with the past, this is understatement.
Apple's black-and-white logo is reminiscent of the wacky logos of companies founded before the 1930s. For example, Nokia had a salmon head coming out of its first logo; and Canon had the multi-armed image of the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy Kwanon as its logo.
Here are a couple of unusual versions of the Apple logo from my personal collection:
The first is a pin that depicts the Apple logo as the head of a giant worm. It was handed out at a Berkeley Macintosh User Group (BMUG) meeting in the early spring of 1988.
On Thursday March 17, 1988, Apple sued Microsoft for copyright violations in Windows of "visual displays" in Apple's Mac interface. Microsoft countersued and after a 4-year fight the suit was finished.
The real blow for Apple occurred about a year after filing the suit when the judge hearing the case ruled that most of the suit was invalid since Apple had an early licensing agreement with Microsoft and that many of the interface behaviors were generic ideas that couldn't be copyrighted.
(I have never agreed with this ruling. When the suit was filed most computing was done in a command line interface and the command line was considered "natural" and productive. The graphic user interface was bad. But just a few years later, after the release of Windows 2.0 and especially after Windows 3.0 in 1990, the elements of a GUI interface were considered fundamental ideas and non-copyrightable.)
When I attended Macworld Tokyo in 1992, someone handed out little metallic stickers showing two Apple logos merged together. I stuck it to my badge. It's an odd look. Stretched. I don't remember what product it was for.