No matter how you slice it, the bagel emoji that Apple unveiled last week was pretty unappetizing. The proposed image was, as Grub Street described, a “machine-cut monstrosity” of “stiff and bready interior” and “distressingly smooth crust.” Quartz took issue with its awkward configuration of “a full bagel awkwardly perched on top of half a sliced bagel.” It was an offense to bagels and the people who love them.
Someone at Apple HQ seems to have been listening to the world’s collective lament. As Emojipedia reports, Apple yesterday (Oct. 15) released a beta 4 of iOS 12.1, with updates and tweaks. Among them is a brand new bagel emoji—featuring a cream cheese schmear.
Is it an improvement? Well, a little. Though it looks only marginally less fluffy than its predecessor, there are couple of dents in the bagel’s golden-brown exterior, helping to give at least the illusion that, at some point, this bagel came into contact with a pair of human hands.
The schmear itself is disturbing chunky—more like cottage cheese than cream cheese—but at least that might serve as a distraction from its subpar vehicle. And nobody in their right mind eats a plain bagel sliced with nothing on it. (As an aside, cream cheese is a surprisingly recent bagel accompaniment: Jewish people first encountered the dairy product in the United States where, as the Forward reports, “in a reverse cultural process, Jews took it from the Yankees and Protestants [and] made it Jewish.”)
This isn’t the first time public outcry has resulted in an emoji overhaul. Burgers and peaches alike have been put through the wringer in the past, resulting in new and improved incarnations. An emoji is meant to be the platonic ideal of an object, rendered in pixels. Whether the bagel emoji has quite met that standard seems in doubt—but perhaps we should take all the more satisfaction in biting into the real thing.