One of the many new features that iOS 10 will bring is an expanded range of emoji. Users of the upcoming operating system will have over 100 new or redesigned images to put in their messages, with many of the updated characters aimed at embracing diversity, but one alteration seems to be causing a lot of controversy: Apple is replacing its revolver emoji with a water pistol.
Apple has been under pressure from campaigners to change the gun emoji since last year. In the midst of continuing gun voilence in the US, the company became the primary influence behind the Unicode Consortium's recent decision to remove the Olympics-inspired rifle from the list of 2016 emoji candidates.
Now, Apple has gone one step further and replaced its gun emoji with one showing a plastic toy. The Cupertino firm hasn’t said if the decision is in response to the New Yorkers Against Gun Violence organization behind disarmtheiphone.com, which sent an open letter asking the revolver to be removed "as a symbolic gesture to limit gun accessibility."
Speaking about the change, Leah Barrett, NYAGV's Executive Director, told CNN: "Apple has stood up to the bullying tactics of the NRA and gun industry by showing that there are many more life-affirming ways to express oneself than with a gun."
It remains to be seen just what effect, if any, the move will have on gun crime and ownership. While groups calling for tighter gun control have welcomed Apple’s decision, it seems most members of the public feel it will change nothing.
Some of Apple’s other new emoji arriving with iOS 10 include women in professional roles that were previously only represented by men, such as detective and construction worker. There are also emoji for single parents, female athletes, and a new gay pride flag.