9 responses

  1. Billary
    May 2, 2016

    I never understood why Apple doesn’t have consistency in their keyboards. I have a new Mac keyboard which labels it option and alt. I have an older Mac keyboard that labels it as the symbol and option. It’s different around the world? Come on, unnecessary.

  2. art176
    May 2, 2016

    FYI :

    the option symbol,
    comes from the image of a railroad bifurcation
    that bifurcation being an “option”al road

    like on this google image search : http://static5.depositphotos.com/1017265/513/i/950/depositphotos_5132217-Railway-bifurcation.jpg

  3. Posnovis
    May 2, 2016

    Not to be argumentative, but I think the origin of the Option symbol is more closely related to the electrical engineering symbols for switches, as seen below there are many similar, than a railroad.


    And there are other logic symbols which might be closer to an origin than railroads, though that’s a clever connection that I’d never thought of.

  4. Sebby
    May 3, 2016

    “… the Apple keyboard experience …”


  5. vdiv
    May 3, 2016

    All of these modifier keys only to save a few extra dedicated keys on the keyboard. Shift wasn’t enough, added Control. Control wasn’t enough, added Alt/Option. Alt/Option wasn’t enough, added Command. Command wasn’t enough added Function. And all of that when we have graphical user and touch interfaces, voice recognition, and powerful task-oriented code.

    We are not making as much progress as we should.

  6. Bert Visscher
    May 3, 2016

    I never understood why Apple put Alt on the Option keys. Why not have these keys labeled with the word Option and the Option symbol?

    • john
      November 24, 2017

      My key has “option” and then “alt” in tinier letters in one corner. I think the “alt” is useful because that the label on Windows computers and instructions on webpages often only address Windows users.

  7. jerryy
    May 3, 2016

    If you look back far enough through Apple’s keyboard layouts, you will come to the early ones that had two different apple symbols for labels, they were called the ‘open apple’ and ‘closed apple’ keys — the open apple key looked like it had a bite taken out of it.

    These were later renamed as the command and option keys. The alt label was added to accomodate folks switching from Microsoft’s os who were used to using the cntrl-alt-delete key sequence to escape the then famous blue screen of death.

  8. Clamman
    May 4, 2016

    I wish they’d label it “meta”, and make Emacs usage clearer :)

    They probably don’t use “Option” everywhere because this is an English word.

    What gets annoying is when you plug in a Windows/PC keyboard, then option and command get reversed. I always remap these keys in this case.

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