According to Don Melton — an ex-Apple engineer credited for initiating and leading the team behind the Safari project — during a design team session in 2002, Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs started calling out potential names for the company’s flagship web browser, in what Melton speculated was an effort to find one that sounded good and easily rolled off the tongue.
One of the options that Jobs felt strongly about was “Freedom,” which Melton assumed was a reference to how Apple’s web browser aimed to unshackle computer users from only having Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at their disposal, which was the web browser standout back then.
After much discussion, “Freedom” was taken out of consideration. Within the company, the browser application was nicknamed “Alexander” after Alexander the Great, according to Slate. Other Apple employees often jokingly referred to it as “iBrowse,” a moniker Melton used to chide his fellow engineers when they asked him about the naming progress. Eventually, after several months of spit-balling within team sessions, Jobs chose “Safari” as the final name for the web browser.