In a brief press release yesterday, Apple announced a number of redesigns to its set of emoji, including options that depict female athletes and professionals. Perhaps most controversial (but not really) is the fact that the gun emoji, which currently looks like a pistol, will be changed to resemble a plastic squirt gun. Suddenly, the name you gave your ex in your address book is fun and playful!
The new updates will appear in iOS 10. In its announcement, Apple did not explicitly point out the swap, but sources confirmed the switch to The Guardian. Last year, activists launched a campaign to Disarm the iPhone.
In June, Apple used its considerable muscle with the Unicode Consortium to remove an approve-but-not-yet-implemented emoji rifle for the set of pictographs. Because Apple is one of a few influential platform holders that can determine emoji usage, they have a lot of pull.
While the Unicode Consortium dictates the general items and scenarios pictured, different platform holders can style emoji to look however they want, which can lead to a number of misinterpretations. And while iOS is very popular, it is hardly the standard, which can lead to a scenario in which one person sends a water gun and the recipient receives a firearm.
As may be the case with the rifle emoji, as goes Apple, so goes the rest of the tech industry, but that’s not a definite yet.