That'll go over well.
"Hey, after school we should sneak up and [squirtgun] John, Mary and Pete!" sent on an iOS devices will turn into "Hey, after school we should sneak up and [handgun] John, Mary and Pete!" on other devices.
One of these statements implies a prank. The other implies murder.
Maybe Apple should work with the Unicode Consortium to declare additional emoji, such as a squirtgun, so that they can drop the handgun emoji from their keyboard and replace it with the squirtgun.
As it stands now, they're just swapping the graphic of a lethal weapon with a children's toy and crossing their fingers that no horrific misunderstandings occur...
The original definition is actually "PISTOL" (U+1F52B) with alternative definitions as "GUN." Apple isn't making the world a safer place by pretending guns/pistols aren't a reality.
What next, remove the word "pistol" from their spellchecker?
That, and any other ungood words. Helps prevent crimethink.
But I would have thought the obvious solution was to avoid using emoji as a form of communication. They're always going to vary from one platform to the next, so you never really know exactly what the recipient is going to see.
Except that they're changing it to a handgun with the Anniversary Update: http://emojipedia.org/pistol/
One of the reasons that putting Emoji into the Unicode character set is silly is that anyone is free to use/make their own font to render them however they want. If the meaning of a message changes because of the font being used, then the sender (and, by proxy, their OS's developers) shouldn't have used text for such things in the first place.
Making short-sighted engineering decisions doesn't give anyone leverage to dictate how I display text on my devices.
On a related note, the whole business around "racist" or "sexist" emoji is just as ridiculous. Unicode dictates things like "Construction Worker"; if you want that to display as male, female, black, white, cat, dog, alien or whatever then just select an appropriate font (or blame the OS/font developer for gender/race bias). The answer is not to add white-male-construction-worker, black-male-construction-worker, white-female-construction-worker, etc.
The idea of race/gender modifiers is better, but at that point you might as well make a paint program with a colour picker and a "flood fill" tool.
Yes, and you could make a font to render the "a" character as "g". It doesn't mean that the Man is oppressing Apple by making them render "a" as "a" in their devices, and neither is Apple free to render any letter as any other, as they see fit. Standards are standards for that exact reason, and that's what Unicode is.
Plus the fact that the only 'meaning' of characters like "a", "g", etc. is to represent themselves as distinguished from the other characters (which is taken to its logical conclusion in binary: each symbol represents itself as distinguished from the other one). Hence replacing an "a" with a "g" is to entirely replace the complete meaning of the symbol.
What Apple's done may, possibly, somewhat change some of the, already ambiguous, meaning of the gun symbol.
BTW, I wasn't trying to imply that Apple may be 'oppressed' by "the Man". I just don't want to see a future change to the Unicode standard mandating that particular symbols be rendered into particular arrangements of pixels, which I could certainly imagine the likes of Apple et al pushing for in order to work around their self-induced problems.
It's actually referred to as "REVOLVER".
If they replaced the car emoji with a helicopter, would you defend that since they represented a vehicle symbol with a vehicle?
A water gun and a revolver are about as different as a sedan and a helicopter...
"A gun emoji, more precisely a pistol. A weapon that has potential to cause great harm. This type of firearm is commonly held by police officers."
EDIT: However, I am not sure how official is this source. unicode.org simple says its a "Pistol".
Surely our children are safer now /s
I'm surprised they're not changing the eggplant emoji as well...
As a PR move, though, it's pretty smart.
This is a feature. Otherwise you would not be able to subtitute a new font to render your Unicode glyphs.
Vendors are free to create new glyph designs, and you are free to hate them for it.
For a vendor of operating systems that is not very responsible behaviour.
> you are free to replace it with whatever you want
No, with a pistol.
You seem to be arguing that a "water pistol" is not a "pistol". I agree not all pistols are water pistols, it is also true that not all pistols are revolvers.
If you choose to depict a pistol that is NOT a revolver, I think we would agree this still satisfies the standard. I think that a water pistol is a pistol, I think it is stretch to argue otherwise.
> not very responsible behaviour
That is a stretch.
I love drive-by ads on usually somewhat trusted sites.
> Microsoft's pistol emoji is also a toy gun, but the icon remains lethal-looking on other platforms including Google's Android.
The whole thing needs scrapping and doing properly
You may believe you could do a better job, but I suspect you're only looking at the technical implementation rather than the politics of what it takes to define a standard everyone supports. The things you think makes unicode a mess are almost certainly the results of many compromises that, if they hadn't been made, would mean there wouldn't be a standard. That would be far worse.