A mysterious new emoji has been added by Apple to iOS 9.1 and OS X El Capitan, but unlike the other emoji supported by Apple, this weird new pictogram wasn’t created by the Unicode Authority, and no one knows why it exists.
Apple plans to give emoji the middle finger when iOS 9.1 drops later this year, but it looks like the iPhone-maker has developed its own emoji called “eye in speech bubble,” and no one has any idea what it means.
Check it out:
Emoji expert Jeremy Burge was the first one to spot the new emoji in a developer preview of iOS 9.1 and discovered that it’s created by joining together the standard Unicode characters for eye and left speech bubble — both of which were approved in Unicode 7.
The new emoji is created with a Zero Width Joiner (ZWJ), which Apple has also used for the range of family emojis. What set the new emoji apart is that it wasn’t created by the organization that creates and approves new emoji.
What the new Eye in Speech Bubble emoji means is still anyone’s guess at this point, as Apple hasn’t responded to our requests for its meaning. Some Apple fans on Reddit have speculated that it could be used as an icon for iMessage (get it? EyeMessage), or maybe iOS 9.1 and El Capitan will use it to signify when a message has been seen/read.
Got a better idea what the new emoji will be used for? Drop your theories in the comments below.