Apple's abacus emoticon is wrong. Or, technically not necessarily & # 39; error & # 39 ;, because you can probably still use it if you really know how to use an abacus (not me). Yet that ever-usable emoji – added in the Unicode 11.0 update of the emoji standards as part of iOS 12 – is apparently incorrect on Apple devices compared to almost every abacus used throughout human civilization.
The error was first noticed by Twitter user @sophophobic, which noticed that Apple & # 39; s abacus configuration turned out to be one that was not used at any time in history.
When was a 2: 4 abacus ever used in history?
Greeks / Romans used 1: 4 counting stones. Chinese people used 2: 5 (for decimal or hexadecimal). Japan adopted China & 2: 5 via Korea, then 1: 5, then 1: 4 in the modern era. Russia had 10 (2 colored middle beads). Europe used 9 coins on a line board …
– John (@sophophobic) May 6, 2019
It was a nice tweet, but I was not happy to leave it there. So I went and took precious time out of my day to get in touch with different abacus experts to get their opinion about the abacus in question, because I am a serious reporter who apparently cares too much about historical accuracy like it on emoji arrive.
Professor Eli Maor, a mathematics professor at Loyola University Chicago and abacus historian, "could not recall a 4-2 bead arrangement (except perhaps as a toy)." For more information about historically correct abaci, see Professor Maor's article "On Abaci of Every Kind" in the Journal of the Oughtred Society.
In addition, it seems that even if Apple's bead arrangement (with two beads on one side of the distributor and four on the other), the emoji itself is not well oriented. According to Peggy Kidwell, a curator at the Smithsonian & # 39; s National Museum of American History, "I would find the abacus orientation more unusual than the number of beads. The Chinese usually used 2 beads (5 each) at the top and 5 at the bottom. The Japanese usually used one at the top and 4 or 5 at the bottom. & # 39;
Kidwell was unaware of any abaci in the museum's collection that used an agreement similar to Apple's, and even those who came close would not be arranged horizontally as Apple's icon is. She pointed out that you could use Apple & # 39; s abacus to do math if it was oriented correctly.
And in the name of honesty, some abaci from different telephone manufacturers are also out, historically, but Apple is the worst offender. I know this because I have checked them all.
Google, Microsoft and Facebook are the leaders in this area: all three have mathematically and historically correct abaci: Google & # 39; s is a Western model with ten beads, and Microsoft and Facebook use a 1: 4 Japanese model that is correctly oriented.
On the other hand, the abaci of Samsung, Twitter and WhatsApp are also incorrect. All three brands also use Western-style abaci, but with seven, seven and five beads respectively, which means they are not much more than images of toys. Apple is even worse, however, because the company has failed on both the number of beads and the orientation for its abacus emoji.
This is not the first time Apple has messed up an emoji like this: the company's squid emoji has been upside down for years, as noted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Unfortunately (and to the great dismay of marine biologists, I assume), that error still needs to be resolved, which gives me little hope that Apple's abacus will ever be restored.