“Apple’s new suite of operating systems appears to replace its pistol emoji, which was an image of a six-shooter, with a squirt gun,” Jonathan Zittrain writes for The New York Times. “Apple hasn’t said why it would be making this change, but this summer, along with Microsoft, the company lobbied Unicode, the nonprofit consortium that decides which emojis should exist, against adding a separate rifle. For those emojis Unicode has already approved, like gun, it’s up to each company to create a picture for it.”

“Apple’s change is ill considered because it breaks the conceptual compatibility that Unicode is meant to establish. Anyone with an iPhone ought to be able to send a message to someone with another company’s products — like Google or Microsoft or Samsung — and have what’s delivered communicate the same idea as what’s sent,” Zittrain writes. “But with this change, a squirt gun sent from an iPhone will turn into a handgun when received by an Android device, and vice versa.”

MacDailyNews Take: From whence miscommunication is likely to arise:

Gun emoji danger

A common language has merits. Who’da thunk it?

“So what could justify a retroactive change by Apple that breaks compatibility among phones? One theory, perhaps derived from notions that toy guns are inappropriate for kids, could be that children’s exposure to gun imagery might encourage violence,” Zittrain writes. “By changing the picture into something harmless, children will be protected. If that is the concern, Apple could address the issue by simply enabling parental controls for some emojis.”

Current iOS handgun emoji (left) and Apple's replacement, a green squirt gun (right)

Current iOS handgun emoji (left) and Apple’s replacement, a green squirt gun (right)

“To eliminate an elemental concept from a language’s vocabulary is to reflect a sweeping view of how availability of language can control behavior, as well as a strange desire for companies — and inevitably, governments — to police our behavior through that language,” Zittrain writes. “In the United States, this confuses taking a particular position on the Second Amendment, concerning the right to bear arms, with the First, which guarantees freedom of speech, including speech about arms.”

“Those behind the campaign to remove the gun from the phone do not appear to be relying on arguments about kids’, or everyone else’s, malleability. Rather, they have portrayed it as a traditional grass-roots messaging campaign: ‘By removing the gun emoji,’ they write, ‘we’ll show America wants stricter access to real guns.’ Apple is surely free to favor gun control as a matter of corporate policy — but it should not be tinkering with our right to express either that or a contrary view on worldwide platforms,” Zittrain writes. “As free citizens, we acquiesce to infantilizing digital infrastructure at our peril.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iOS 10 is still in beta, so it’s not too late for Apple to correct this issue.

One more time:

Leave it to Apple to solve the pressing issue of gun violence via text message.

What’s next, replacing the knife emoji with a spork? The bomb with a firecracker? The sword with a feather?

iOS knife, bomb, and sword emoji

iOS knife, bomb, and sword emoji

This is political correctness run amok.

And, BTW, that squirt gun doesn’t hold water, it’s full of hydrochloric acid.

Acid beaker and squirt gun emoji

Apple and the (squirt) gun emoji – August 4, 2016
In wake of London stabbing rampage, will Apple replace their knife emoji with a plastic spork? – August 4, 2016
Open Thread: Should Apple code their OSes to block video games that glorify guns and murder? – August 3, 2016
Apple jumps the shark by removing the handgun emoji; Gun owners might want to reconsider buying Apple’s products – August 3, 2016
Apple removes handgun emoji, replaces it with a squirt gun – August 1, 2016
Apple’s politics may be hurting its brand – June 29, 2016
Apple quashes rifle Emoji – June 20, 2016