Apple’s Safari browser takes pride of place on every single Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on the market, and although it is perhaps not as strong in terms of features as the likes of Google’s Chrome or Firefox by Mozilla, it’s the Web-surfing utility of choice to many. The thought process behind the naming makes complete sense, as it offers users something of a Safari across adventurous – sometimes dangerous – but immensely informative medium of the World Wide Web. It has emerged, however, that Apple’s flagship browser was frighteningly close to being given the less flattering name of "Freedom" which, as well as alluding to countless famous songs, might well have rendered Apple the subject of ridicule.
Don Melton, a former programmer and once-Apple employee, played a key role in both the Safari and WebKit projects, and in an anecdotal blog post, insights just how close Apple’s famed Safari browser dodged not only "Freedom", but a host of other cringe worthy names such as “iBrowse" and “Alexander.”
iBrowse, when you look at the word before taking in its phonetics, looks fairly okay, and in-keeping with a host of other Cupertino-made products. However, when you think iBrowse – eyebrows – the fact somebody even suggested the idea raises the.. erm.. eyebrow.
So says Melton, the late great Steve Jobs was among those throwing suggestions against the wall of colleagues, and seeing what stuck. "Freedom" is one that he recalls most vividly, stating:
Steve [Jobs] spent some time trying that one out on all of us. He may have liked it because it invoked positive imagery.. it spoke to our own freedom from Microsoft and Internet Explorer, the company and browser we depended on at the time.
Melton, as he describes, didn’t want the browser to be named after a “feminine hygiene product,” (something Apple later achieved with the iPad), and so subsequently, "Freedom" was removed from the list. “Alexander” and “iBrowse” are another two Melton recalls, but eventually, it was decided "Safari" should be the one. After so many suggestions, Melton’s take on the Safari name was one of real enthusiasm, telling colleagues, “It doesn’t suck.” And there, the name was born.
I think you’ll join us and Melton himself in thanking whoever came up with the eventual name.