Apple is striving for inclusivity and fair representation with the latest batch of emoji released as part of the iOS 13.2 software update.
Released Monday, the update features almost 60 new characters that focus on allowing all users to be seen. The new emoji include representation for the visually impaired, interracial couples, those who are gender neutral, and more.
The latest update is a continuation of the inclusive efforts we’ve seen in previous updates, including the ability to customize emoji skin color. In March 2018, Apple sent a request for more inclusive emoji to the Unicode Consortium, which is the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for the characters.
“Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” Apple wrote in the request. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”
The new update also features a host of new food and animal emoji that users have been long asking for. From otters to waffles, your ability to tell an entire story through these symbols is getting easier than ever before.
Emoji have become pretty prominent in online and mobile communication. Once just used by teenage texters, they’ve now become a favorite of the whole family. As more people embrace the characters, Apple is looking to expand its collection to be more inclusive.
In March 2018, Apple requested more emoji that were inclusive of disabilities in a proposal the company sent to the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for emoji.
“Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” Apple wrote in the proposal. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”
In the new iOS 13.2 update, we’re seeing the introduction of nearly 60 new emoji. While there’s a gaggle of new animals and foods, as expected in every update, there are also a number of new inclusive emoji.
We recently saw the introduction of gender-neutral emoji. While this was an excellent start, they were available in only basic human emoji. Now, there is a gender-neutral option available for all human emoji.
For the visually impaired, there is a new emoji available of a person walking with a probing cane. There is also an emoji of just the probing cane. This marks the beginning of representation for blind and low-vision people in emoji form.
Apple has also introduced the option of guide dogs and service dogs in emoji form. It’s awesome to see that these hardworking animals are being represented and that those who use their services can now express that in emoji form.
Those with prosthetics are also acknowledged in the new herd of emoji. There are both a mechanical arm and a mechanical leg emoji available to users in the new update. While the mechanical arm is posed like the flexed muscle emoji, the mechanical leg is bent and outfitted with a sneaker.
There are also new emoji for the deaf and hearing impaired. There is an emoji of a hearing aid. There are also emoji of deaf people using sign language. Both are available in a full range of skin tones, and the latter includes all gender possibilities.
Wheelchair users will find a number of new options as well. New emoji not only include wheelchairs but also have the option of differentiating between manual and motorized devices. There are also emoji of the wheelchairs themselves.
Representation of different cultures and skin tones is also continuing to expand. In this update, an emoji of a sari has been added for the first time, which goes a long way in normalizing different cultural attire to users worldwide.
The ability to customize emoji skin tone has been expanded to the various emoji that show different pairings of people holding hands, marking the first time that interracial couples have representation.
The rollout of iOS 13.2 also offers some new options in hair color. For the first time, there will be emoji of redheads, those with white hair, and those with curly hair. It’s becoming easier than ever to get an emoji that closely resembles your likeness.
Animal lovers will also be happy with the update, which includes a number of animals people have been asking for. Apple has now added emoji for orangutans, sloths, otters, skunks, and flamingos.