Apple has replaced an emoji of a handgun with one of a toy water pistol. It hasn’t commented on why it made the change.
The water pistol is one of “More than one hundred new and redesigned emoji characters” coming to iOS10 in the fall. While Apple hasn’t publicly confirmed this, The Guardian cites unnamed sources as saying the toy icon will indeed replace the original gun rather than simply be an addition.
The change follows a campaign using the slogan “#DisarmTheiPhone” that asked Apple to make the change. An open letter from the campaign to Apple said the move would be a symbolic gesture in support of campaigners for restrictions on gun accessibility. (Again, Apple has not publicly confirmed this, or any other political motivation, about why it’s made the change.)
There certainly does appear to be a theme to the changes however. Apple notes that the update “brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options.”
The 12 examples it shows off in its announcement include the water pistol, a rainbow flag, six female sports competitors, a female detective and female construction worker, and two single parent families (a woman with a son and a man with a son and daughter.)