Apple to replace pistol emoji with a water gun

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The pistol emoji, which has been around since 2010, is being redesigned with the next version of iOS 10. The change, revealed by Apple yesterday, swaps the pistol for a bright green “water pistol.” The update will roll out with iOS 10, slated to hit iPhones and iPads this fall, but those who are part of the iOS 10 public beta can see the change now.


Apple didn’t give a reason for the change but highlighted the new “water pistol” symbol in press materials on its website. The update will also add new emoji portraying women professionals and athletes, and will redesign several other existing characters.


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This isn’t the first time the company has taken a stance on how firearms are depicted in their emoji characters.

Unicode, an independent organization, oversees the development of new emoji characters. But all updates are first approved by a handful of member organizations that include the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and others. Apple apparently used its influence with Unicode to prevent two emoji with guns in them from appearing in the update, according to an earlier report in BuzzFeed.

The Unicode 9.0 update, which involves 72 new emoji, added new Olympics-themed characters. They included modern pentathlon, which includes pistol shooting, and a standalone rifle symbol. Rifles, shotguns and pistols are all used in Olympic events. These two characters were omitted from the lineup as part of a “late stage” change, according to Unicode, though the organization did not elaborate on the cause.


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