Apple caused a minor dust-up earlier this month when it revealed a modified peach emoji with the iOS 10.2 update. The old peach icon—a flat, pinkish heart with a hint of a wrinkle in the middle—was easy shorthand for “butt.” The modified peach, many users complained, was too detailed and peachlike to serve the same purpose. Coy emails about butts got fruitier. Internet people said Apple had “ruined sexting.”
So the spineless corporation bowed to the cries of the masses and reinstated the original shape of the peach this week, albeit with a hue that’s more orange and leaves that are more realistic. Now, it seemed to some, Apple had saved sexting from the ruins it had wrought. “World rejoices,” wrote CNET.
But there’s an uncomfortable truth behind all this reactionary peach modification. The interim peach, the one everyone shat on for not looking asinine enough, actually looked more like a butt than the original. To clarify: It looked more like a real human’s butt and less like a cartoon butt. The peach that was never to be was less Patrick the starfish, more Kim Kardashian breaking the internet. What we lost in kitsch we gained in verisimilitude.
That is, until Apple detected social-media unrest and reversed its bold decision. “People will stop using iPhones if we don’t change this back to a butt,” a high-level executive must have protested. “People will take their texts about hemorrhoids and anal fisting and asshats to Androids.” Cowed by tweets of “kiss my 🍑, Apple” and almost certainly lobbied by the prosthetic butt industry, the world’s largest tech company abandoned its convictions, resulting in an emoji that looks both less like a butt and, to be perfectly honest, less like a peach.
Some may disagree with me. Certainly, the people who successfully pushed for Apple to renege on the new emoji believe their favored peach evokes “butt” more than mine. Because peach emoji Nos. 1 and 3 don’t look like peaches at all, the brain must interpret them as butts. Since the short-lived peach emoji No. 2 looks both more buttlike and more peachlike, its relative association with the butt is weaker than those of the other two. Emoji designers deepened the crack and rosied the cheeks of peach No. 3, making its butt-to-peach ratio arguably the strongest of the bunch.
That doesn’t mean it looks most like a butt, though. It just looks least like a peach. In the furious rush to condemn Apple for its rounding and shading, internet emoji activists neglected the needs of peach farmers, grocers, and Georgians who may well have legitimate use for an icon that looks like the fuzzy fruit itself. They also sold out proctologists, dominatrices, and bidet manufacturers who might need a realistic butt emoji for their communiqués. These agitators should take a moment to consider the consequences before complaining once Apple finally decides to make its cherries look more like the breasts they were meant to be.