Nik Cubrilovic

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Unicode U+F8FF - aka. The Apple Logo Character, on Macs




With the death of Steve Jobs this week many users on Twitter added the Apple logo to their names or to their tweets in tribute. Some bloggers also used the character in blog posts, which can be input by pressing option + shift + k. The logo is a Unicode character, at address U+F8FF. The problem: that character is a reserved character and only appears as the Apple logo on a Mac or iOS device.

Mike Arrington at Uncrunched changed the title of his blog in tribute to Jobs to just the Apple logo character. It looks great on a Mac:

On Windows XP with IE, not so great:

Could be mistaken for a tombstone, or a coffin. Those users must be wondering what the hell is going on. Firefox users on Windows would also be confused:

Same for Opera users on Windows:

That icon with letters in it says ‘F8FF’ – which is the code for the character. It is sometimes substituted in when there is no character allocated in the codepage

Here are all the different icons that could appear, depending on the computer and font you are seeing it with:

  • A euro symbol (the Luxi font)
  • Elvish character
  • The Tibetan symbol for ‘hwo’
  • In a Dingbats font, it shows up as a smiling face
  • And most embarrassing, in Wingdings 1 it appears as a Windows logo.

So if for some reason you browse the web in Windows, with IE, with Wingdings set as your font (and who doesn’t) the Uncrunched tribute page would be flying a Windows logo.

The lesson here, I don’t know, it is that Unicode is far from being Universal – especially in the portions of the code page that are designated for private use.