Apple has added a mysterious emoji in the betas of iOS 9.1 and OS X 10.11.1. The emoji was in the form of a speech bubble with an eye inside it. It was difficult to figure out the purpose of the emoji at the moment, but now with iOS 9.1 out, its true meaning is known.
Apple joining two emojis
Wired states that this emoji is an effort from Apple to show its support to the Ad Council’s anti-bullying campaign, which was launched on Thursday. The digital anti-bullying campaign has been named “I Am A Witness,” and it seeks to empower teenagers to speak up whenever they see bullying rather than being mute spectators.
Apple iPhones running iOS 9.1 and Macs running OS X 10.11.1 have the emoji available on them. There is a dedicated website to the campaign named “I Am A Witness” that encourages teens to make use of either the emoji or the “I Am A Witness” third-party keyboard to call out bullying.
Apple made use of Zero Width Joiner for combining the eye emoji with the left speech bubble to create the new anti-bullying emoji. Emojipedia describes Zero Width Joiner as a Unicode character that has an ability to join two or more characters together. For example, to create an emoji to represent a family, Apple joined four different emojis – Man, Woman, Girl and Boy – to create a single character emoji.
Not Apple’s idea fully
The eye-in-a-speech-bubble is the brainchild of Angie Elko and Patrick Knowlton, designers at ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The agency approached Apple with the request of adding the symbol as an emoji to its keyboard. Apple loved the symbol, said Hanna Wittmark, art director at Goodby.
“When we first asked about bringing this emoji to the official Apple keyboard, they told us it would take at least a year or two to get it through and approved under Unicode,” Wittmark said. The company wanted to fast track the symbol, and therefore, it combined two existing symbols for that, the executive said.
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Other than Apple, several major tech giants such as Adobe, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter have also extended their support to the campaign. All these tech firms are providing customized content on their respective platforms in support of the campaign.