What Do Those Symbols on the iPhone Mean?

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

Stare at the back of your iPhone long enough and you may begin to question the significance behind that peculiar row of symbols appearing near the bottom. What do they mean? Is it a secret Apple language that will eventually replace our alphabet?

The truth is out there. And significantly less sinister. Here’s what you’re really looking at.

• The “FC” logo actually hosts a third “C,” which indicates that the iPhone is Federal Communications Commission (FCC) compliant. The FCC governs devices that use radio frequency; phones fall under their Class B banner, which mandates they not cause or receive any harmful emissions under normal use [PDF].

• Next is clearly a garbage can on wheels with a very disapproving “X” laid over it. Apple is not being subtle in cautioning you not to throw the device away with the rest of your trash. The company advises owners to contact their local waste authority to find how best to rid themselves of the unit. This specific symbol, however, indicates WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive cooperation, a European attempt to minimize electronic waste in landfills by making it fun to type and say WEEE.

• The exclamation mark inside a circle signals a Class II wireless device, which is important for users in other countries: not all the frequency bands the device may try to use are available everywhere.   

“0682” and “CE” are also European markers. The number designates who approved it (Cetecom ICT services, an accreditation firm) and “CE” (Conformite Europeenne) represents the approval of its sale in the European Union.

Apple’s MacBook sports all of these symbols (minus the 0682 Cetecom notice) but also adds two others.

• Voluntary Control Council for Interference (“VCCI”) is a Japanese regulatory agency. Their stamp of approval indicates the laptop meets their standards for emitting radio frequency (RF) signals.

• That checkmark inside the triangle is a Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) used in Australia to indicate electronic devices that are safe to use.

Even if you don’t have a sleek cell phone case, you may not have to look at any of this gibberish for much longer. In November 2014, President Obama signed the E-Label Act into law, a bill that will allow manufacturers to place these notices in the device’s software. That may not apply to the European symbols, but either way, things will get a little sleeker.

We also popped open an Android device—a Samsung Galaxy SII destined for a museum—and it relegated many of those notices to the battery itself. It also had cautions not to allow it to get wet, poked with a screwdriver, set ablaze, or obtained by a baby. You’ve been warned. 

See Also: What Are the Colored Circles on Food Packages?

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Why Are Common Graves Called Potter’s Fields?

Graves in potter's fields are sometimes marked with blank headstones or crosses.
Graves in potter's fields are sometimes marked with blank headstones or crosses.
vyasphoto/iStock via Getty Images

For centuries, regions around the world have maintained common graves called potter’s fields, where they bury unidentified victims and impoverished citizens who couldn’t afford their own cemetery plots. The term potter’s field has been around for just as long.

The earliest known reference to a potter’s field is from the Gospel of Matthew, which historians believe was written sometime during the 1st century. In it, a remorseful Judas gives the 30 silver coins he was paid for betraying Jesus back to the high priests, who use it to purchase a “potter’s field” where they can bury foreigners. It’s been speculated that the priests chose land from a potter either because it had already been stripped of clay and couldn’t be used for farming, or because its existing holes and ditches made it a particularly good place for graves. But Matthew doesn’t go into detail, and as the Grammarphobia Blog points out, there’s no evidence to prove that the original potter’s field was ever actually used for its clay resources—it could’ve just been a parcel of land owned by a potter.

Whatever the case, the term eventually caught on as English-language versions of the Bible made their way across the globe. In 1382, John Wycliffe translated it from Latin to Middle English, using the phrase “a feeld of a potter,” and William Tyndale’s 1526 Greek-to-English translation of the passage featured “a potters felde,” which was altered slightly to “potters field” in King James’s 1611 edition.

Around the same time, a new definition of potter was gaining popularity that had nothing to do with pottery—in the 16th century, people began using the word as a synonym for tramp or vagrant. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first written in a 1525 Robin Hood tale, and William Wordsworth mentioned it in his 1798 poem “The Female Vagrant.” It’s likely that this sense of the word helped reinforce the idea that a potter’s field was intended for the graves of the unknown.

It’s also definitely not the only phrase we’ve borrowed from the Bible. From at your wit’s end to a fly in the ointment, here are 18 everyday expressions with holy origins.

[h/t Grammarphobia Blog]