Approved by Steve Jobs in 1997, the same sound is used today on every Mac
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a registered trademark for their Mac startup chime originally created by Jim Reekes, a programmer who worked for Apple.Apple's trademark was originally filed this summer under International Class 009 which, according to Patently Apple, covers computer hardware and software, as well as operating systems.
The US Patent Office categorizes Apple's startup chime as a “Sensory Mark” and the USPTO says, “The mark consists of a sound mark consisting of a slightly flat, by approximately 30 cents, G flat/F sharp major chord. The mark is a sound.”
The author of the OS X startup chime is Jim Reekes, a programmer who used to work for Steve Jobs back when the company was called Apple Computer. Reekes is known to have made a significant contribution to the Mac OS operating system, including sound-wise.
“The startup sound was done in my home studio on a Korg Wavestation,” Reekes said in a statement. “It's a C Major chord, played with both hands stretched out as wide as possible (with 3rd at the top, if I recall),” he added.
In an interview, Reekes explained that, “Mac people are very familiar with the sound, after restarting their machines too often. In fact, that was one of the issues I was conscious of when designing the sound.”
“Turning the Mac on is one thing, but being forced to reboot from a crash is a totally different experience. I wanted to avoid a sound that would be associated with the crash. I wanted it to sound more like a palette cleanser.” he explained.
But the ROM engineers reportedly changed it with every new machine Apple was churning up. Some of them sounds were weak, like the Stanley Jordon guitar strum used on the first PowerMacs.
Reekes objected to it “because that sound had no ‘power.’” In 1997, when Steve Jobs came back to rescue Apple from bankruptcy, the visionary said yes once again to Reekes' Mac startup chime.