Sorry, Glenn Beck: The Apple Logo Is Not A Secret Salute To Alan Turing

Glenn Beck received an advance copy of “The Imitation Game,” the new film about Alan Turing’s effort to crack the Nazi Enigma code during World War II and his eventual suicide after he was prosecuted for being gay, which was a crime at the time.

On his radio program today, Beck raved about the film, seizing upon the legend that Turing had taken his life by eating an apple laced with cyanide which, Beck claimed, has been secretly immortalized in the logo for Apple, which consists of an apple with a bite taken out of it.

“That’s a salute to Alan Turning,” Beck said. “Nobody knows that. Nobody knows that … Isn’t that amazing?”

This claim is, of course, little more than an urban legend, as Rob Janoff, the man who originally designed the logo back in 1977, explained a few years ago:

CB: What does the bite in the apple represent? Is it a reference to a computing term byte? Is it a reference to the biblical event when Eve bit into the forbidden fruit? Is the fruit itself referencing the discovery of gravity by Newton when an apple fell on his head while sitting under the tree?

RJ: They are really interesting, but I’m afraid it didn’t have a thing to do with it. From a designer’s point of view and you probably experienced this, one of the big phenomena is having the experience of designing a logo for whatever reasons you design it, and years later you find out supposedly why you did certain things. And, they are all BS. It’s a wonderful urban legend. Somebody starts it and then people go “oh yeah, that must be it”.

CB: Is it possible you were influenced subconsciously by these stories?

RJ: Well, I’m probably the least religious person, so Adam and Eve didn’t have anything to do with it. The bite of knowledge sounds fabulous, but that’s not it. And there is a whole lot of other lore about it. Turing the famous supposed father of computer science who committed suicide in the early 50’s was british and was accused of being homosexual, which he was. He was facing a jail sentence so he committed suicide to avoid all that. So, I heard one of the legends being that the colored logo was an homage to him. People think I did the colored stripes because of the gay flag. And, that was something really thought for a long time. The other really cool part was that apparently he killed himself with a cyanide laced apple. And, then I found out Alan Turing’s favorite childhood story was Snow White where she falls asleep forever afrer eating a poisoned apple to be woken up by the handsome prince. Anyway, when I explain the real reason why I did the bite it’s kind of a let down. But I’ll tell you. I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple not a cherry. Also it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience. It goes across cultures. If anybody ever had an apple he has probably bitten into it and that’s what you get. It was after I designed it that my creative director told me: “Well you know, there is a computer term called byte”. And I was like: “You’re kidding!” So, it was like perfect, but it was coincidental that it was also a computer term. At the time I had to be told everything about basic computer terms.

Tags: Glenn Beck