According to the man who was responsible for Safari and WebKit: “Someone early on, I don’t even remember if it was one of my team members, referred to the product as ‘iBrowse.’ That stuck as a snarky alternate name we would use at times.”
“I would often say something like, ‘I’ve just heard from Scott Forstall and it’s ‘iBrowse’ for sure,” Don Melton writes on his blog.
Freedom was one of the names Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs seriously considered for the browser. Melton was glad that Freedom wasn’t a name that stuck, however. “He [Jobs] may have liked it because it invoked positive imagery of people being set free. And, just as possible and positive, it spoke to our own freedom from Microsoft and Internet Explorer, the company and browser we depended on at the time.”
However, there were other connotations for the word, suggests Melton: “Of course, all I could think about was, ‘Please don’t let us name the browser after a feminine hygiene product!’” he writes.
Melton claims other possible names included Alexander.
As for the name that was chosen, Melton recalls his reaction was: “It doesn’t suck.”