Apple to replace pistol emoji with green water gun

Apple is replacing the pistol emoji with a green water gun in the next version of its iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 10.

The company announced a number of emoji changes on Monday designed to "reflect the diversity of people everywhere".

But it was the decision to get rid of the pistol that drew the most attention given recent shootings in America.

Among more than 100 new emojis to be introduced are a pride flag, female athletes and family options for single parents.

Apple said in a statement: "This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options."