Any of you who happen to follow me on Twitter will know that when the original method for unlocking iPhone emoji on non-Japanese phones had me fairly excited. Bubbly, even. I lived in Japan for a brief time, and I came to love, and even depend on emoji for communication. Imagine my chagrin when Apple (s aapl) chose to enable it only for Japanese phones, since I’d already moved back to Canada.
So I paid the 99 cents for FrostySpace, an app that provided the privilege of thwarting Apple’s senseless censure, and I don’t regret it, even though the only people who can view the emoji are other iPhone users, and, presumably, those with Japanese cell phones. But then earlier this week, a new free app called EmotiFun! provided the same advantage as FrostySpace (also no longer available) without the $1 price tag. Which meant that I could finally convince my cheap brother to join in the fun.
Sadly, it was not to be. Apple (s aapl) mysteriously pulled EmotiFun! from the app store after it was only available for a day. A move like this recalls the App Store of old, before the arrival of fart apps, landscape email, 3rd party browsers, and the reimagined version of Podcaster. Why the change in stance? Did someone fall asleep at the switch and allow EmotiFun! through when then shouldn’t have?
I think this is probably a move like they pulled with Podcaster, and the original iPhone tethering app, in that they are probably intending to offer the same service themselves in the near future. Meaning, I hope, that emoji will be enabled in an upcoming firmware update for users outside of Japan. At least that’d better be the reason, because otherwise, I can see no benefit for Apple in blocking the app. Maybe you don’t care about emoji, but you should care about Apple arbitrarily dictating what you can and can’t do with your iPhone.