Science & Tech

Apple added this Orwellian-looking emoji to iOS 9.1 and no one knows why

A new emoji has been added by Apple to iOS9.1 and OS X El Capitan called “eye in speech bubble”, and some people think it would make George Orwell proud.

It’s turning a few heads, mostly due to what it appears to resemble and the fact that it’s not a standard unicode addition.

The new emoji was shown as a placeholder ellipsis on the emoji keyboard of the iOS 9.1 developer preview.

It looks like this:

Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia, was the first to spot it and has written on his blog about how the emoji originated and what it may mean.

Burge says “the emoji is created from joining these two standard Unicode characters together":

The Unicode Consortium usually recognises this process, known as a "Zero Width Joiner", however it has not recommended "eye in speech bubble" and has no documentation on it currently.

Burge wrote:

So…what’s going on? I asked around, and no-one seems to know. Ideas? I’d love to hear them.

People have speculated that due to the content it could be used as an indicator that the conversation is not secure or that somebody has seen what has been written, or that it relates to video messaging.

“Eye in speech bubble” will debut with iOS 9.1.

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