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I wonder why Apple has renamed the Apple-Key, and just leave this key with Cmd and this weird "flower" tag? To me, it was easy for user support.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The symbol, called a Gorgon loop, has been in use since the first Mac keyboard. The key, called the Apple Key, or Open Apple Key, is referred to most commonly as the 'Command Key' - similar to the Windows Key on pretty much all other keyboards.

It is used to issue keyboard commands, hence its name.

They never changed the name, although some keyboards did have an actual Apple logo on the key. 'Cmd' is semantically easier than just a symbol, especially when trying to explain to a Windows-convert.

Lastly, with the switch to Intel processors, its possible to run other OSes on Mac hardware. There is no 'Apple' key in Windows in Linux, but the key still has functionality.

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The answer from goldPseudo is partially correct also. Steve Jobs found it annoying that the menus had a bunch of apples showing the keystroke combinations. Here is a quote from Wikipedia: "The development team originally went for their old Apple key, but Steve Jobs found it frustrating when "apples" filled up the Mac's menus next to the key commands, because he felt that this was an over-use of the company logo." – Mistiry Jul 7 '10 at 15:59

My understanding is that Steve Jobs thought the overuse of the Apple logo diluted the company's brand too much, so he demanded it be changed to something less Apple-y. I don't know if this is entirely factual or if it is urban legend.

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I think his question wasn't why the Command symbol was added in 1983-84, but why the Apple symbol was removed from recent keyboard designs in 2009-10. – Spiff Jul 7 '10 at 15:57

On Macintoshes, the key has always properly been called the command key. For example, any official Macintosh help file or documentation will refer to it as the command key. And on the first Macintoshes, the key only had the command symbol and not an apple symbol: Macintosh Keyboard (M0110).

According to Wikipeida's Command key, Macintosh keyboards that used the Apple Desktop Bus connector could be used in earlier Apple computers that used apple keys. In this case, the command key acts as the open-apple key, and so the command keys on ADB keyboards also have the open-apple symbol on them. (The option key acts as the closed-apple key, but because the closed-apple key was rarely used, the closed-apple symbol was left off of the option key.)

(I don't use Macs often, so it's not clear to me if only ADB keyboards have command keys with the apple symbol and all non-ADB Mac keyboards don't. But command keys with apple symbols at least started with ADB keyboards.)

The decision to remove the apple symbol from the command key on modern Mac keyboards seems to be to make room for the word "command" so that people reading documentation referring to the command key can more easily recognize what key on the keyboard that is: How Apple Keyboards Lost a Logo and Windows PCs Gained One

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It's interesting that the open-Apple was added to facilitate use with the Apple //gs, given that historically the open-Apple and closed-Apple keys were simply wired to the paddle-button inputs on the Apple //e, but on an ADB keyboard they're just ordinary keys. – supercat May 9 '14 at 23:25

It's always been the "Command" key, and that symbol has always been used to refer to it. "Apple", "Open-Apple", etc., was just a colloquialism.

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For those of us that go back to the early days, we'll always speak in terms of "open apple" and "closed apple". :-) – Brian Knoblauch Jul 7 '10 at 19:10
The Apple //e had "open-apple" and "closed-apple" keys. The keyboards that included those logos were designed to be usable with the Apple //gs, which was in turn compatible with the Apple //e. When used in such fashion, the "open-apple" key on the keyboard behaves like the "open-apple" key on an Apple //e keyboard and emulates a push of the first paddle button. – supercat May 9 '14 at 23:27

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