Thus, the ⌘ appears in the Macintosh menus as the primary modifier key symbol.
In 1986, the Apple IIGS was introduced. Like the newer Macintosh computers to come, such as the Macintosh SE, it used the new Apple Desktop Bus for its keyboard and mouse. However, it was still an Apple II. Apple changed the keys on the IIGS's keyboard to Command and Option, as on Mac keyboards, but added an open-Apple to the Command key, for consistency with applications for previous Apple II generations. (The Option key did not have a closed-Apple, probably because Apple II applications used the closed-Apple key much more rarely than the open-Apple key; thus there was less need to keep it around.) Because any ADB keyboard could be used with the IIGS, all of Apple's ADB keyboards—even those intended for the Mac—also required the open-Apple, and it stuck for more than twenty years even when the Apple II series was long out of production.
The Apple symbol was removed in the keyboard's 2007 redesign, making room for the key's name to appear. In the US, the keyboard now uses the word "Command"; in Europe, the word used now is "cmd" printed on the key. The removal of the symbol triggered a small storm of online protests by Apple aficionados who felt that a unique design feature of the Macintosh was being dropped without a compelling need.
One advantage of this scheme, as contrasted with the Microsoft Windows mixed use of the Control and Alt keys, is that the Control key is reserved entirely for its original purpose: entering control characters in terminal applications. (Indeed, the very first Macintosh lacked a Control key; it was soon added to allow compatible terminal software.)
The Macintosh keyboard's other unusual modifier key, the Option key, serves as a modifier both for entering keyboard shortcuts and for typing text—it is used to enter foreign characters, typographical symbols, and other nonstandard characters.
The ⌘ came into the Macintosh project at a late stage. 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. He then opted for a different key symbol. With only a few days left before deadline, the team's bitmap artist Susan Kare started researching for the Apple logo's successor. She was browsing through a symbol dictionary when she came across the cloverleaf-like symbol, commonly used in Scandinavia as an indicator of cultural locations and places of interest. When she showed it to the rest of the team, everyone liked it, and so it became the symbol of the 1984 Macintosh command key.
The symbol was included in the original Macintosh font Chicago, and could be inserted by typing a control-q key combination.
When used in conjunction with computing the symbol is commonly given nicknames such as '"cloverleaf", "splat", "splodge", "overpass", "butterfly", "squiggle", "beanie", "flower", "cauliflower", "propeller" or "shamrock." Some believe the symbol to be named the "infinite loop", which is also the address for Apple world headquarters: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014.
Patent Issued for Onscreen Remote Control Presented by Audio Video Display Device Such as TV to Control Source of HDMI Content
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