Although the iOS 10 update came out almost a month and a half ago, many iPhone users have yet to download it, and are in fact, putting it off as long as they can. With its latest update, Apple has outraged millions on the political front, on top of the fact that the download had multiple technological dysfunctions as well.
The main source of contention is that the iOS 10 came equipped with a new and politically biased keyboard. All emojis that originally were either male or female oriented now come with an option for either gender. Thus, there are male dancers and male pouty faces, while women options are now available for all sport emojis. The family emojis include all family types including: hetero, homo, and single parent. And of course, there is the inevitable gay pride flag. However, what outraged users most was the fact that the gun emoji was replaced with a water gun.
Many users are upset on multiple fronts. First of all, they claim that Apple is making a definitive political statement, and discriminating against parties who would have it otherwise. They also accuse Apple of violating the 1st and 2nd Amendment, because they are withholding freedom of speech as well as making a statement about guns. Lastly, users question whether this will do anything to stop gun violence, as it is only an emoji.
But the real question remains: was this a smart marketing decision on the part of Apple? In the past month, there have been studies which have claimed that Apple is losing clients as Android gains their run-off. In an article on Narada there are the following claims: In US market alone about 6 percent of current iPhone users may switch to Android, says a study that claims Apple will lose more than 1.5 million users to Android.
Apple may be one of the biggest corporations in the world, but challenging the views of almost 50% of their users is arguably not the smartest thing they’ve ever done. Although they claim to be increasing their emoji-diversity, they have backtracked in their removal of the pistol emoji. It will be interesting to see how they try to recover from this serious political faux pas, and what they will offer to appease their shaken users and try to win back their fans’ loyalty.