Apple’s most egregious crime in recent memory — a subpar bagel emoji — has been rectified, as first spotted by Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia. In the fourth beta release of iOS 12.1, it appears that the bagel has been replaced with a new icon that features both cream cheese and a doughier consistency more reminiscent of a fresh, hand-rolled bagel and not the frozen and machine-cut grocery store variety it was accused of emulating in its original form.
If you haven’t been following the bagel emoji controversy, it’s likely because you have better ways to spend your time. But to catch you up quickly: the iOS bagel emoji — like Android’s goofy cheeseburger one that generated negative headlines last year — was widely decried for its unappetizing look and its lack of cream cheese. Many thought it looked like the kind of bagel you bought in a six-pack from your local grocery store:
I’m organizing a march in New York City against Apple’s just-revealed bagel emoji, which comes out with the next iOS update. It looks like something you get from a cardboard box in the freezer section at Walmart. This insult will not stand. pic.twitter.com/Z44YFBuUlU
— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) October 3, 2018
Of course, cream cheese brand Philadelphia had to squeeze some prime social media engagement out of the whole thing, resulting in a Twitter poll and then a facetious Change.org petition to get the emoji changed to one with cream cheese:
— PHILADELPHIA (@LoveMyPhilly) October 4, 2018
Yet like most conversations around food that has distinct ethnic and regional histories (think pizza), it then devolved into semi-ironic, faux-outrage over what’s the most authentic conception of a bagel. As Vox put it, conversations around emoji are really about representation and cultural identity, especially in America where the concept of emoji is somewhat divorced from its Japanese origins as an abstract visual representation of a word.
“The outcry over the bagel emoji suggests that there are people who really do feel — on some level, even if it is tongue-in-cheek — that the bagel does represent them in some way,” Rachel Sugar wrote at Vox, “and that this anemic version (‘the most gentile bagel ever baked’) does a disservice not only to carbohydrates but to the rich diversity of American identity.” You see this similarly play out when we as an online society collectively freak out over, say, former New York Governor candidate Cynthia Nixon’s bagel choice.
So if you were one of the people offended by Apple’s bagel emoji design, you can rest easy knowing it now comes with cream cheese and what appears to be an alarming level of realism:
did…did someone take a photo of a bagel? This is very detailed. pic.twitter.com/lhfWknBgIs
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) October 15, 2018