May 8, 2015

Evolving Emojis Are All Part of Apple’s Plan


People are using emojis in their texts so often that we might be about three or four Apple OS updates away from reverting back to using hieroglyphics. Emojis are developing, and Apple’s most recent update, iOS 8.3, features emoticons that carry way more meaning than a simple smiley face. Diversity seems to be the new direction for Apple’s icons, adding different racial options for emojis which were formerly “monochromatic.” After a lot of feedback about a lack of any black emojis, Apple has changed the different facial emoticon options to feature the full range of skin tones. The new emoji characters with six skin tones are based on the Fitzpatrick Classification scale, which was founded by dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick at Harvard Medical School in 1975. These skin tones are based on how well each one reacts to UV rays, said the Unicode Consortium in their emoji diversity plan.

The Unicode Consortium finalizes the icons to ensure a consistent experience across multiple platforms. Last November, the Unicode Consortium said that they are planning to have more diverse emojis in 2015. “Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us,” said an Apple spokesperson via ABC.

The diversity doesn’t just stop with skin color. Other emojis, like relationship emojis that formerly did not have a wide variety of options, now feature a full selection of same-sex families, including two father or two mothers and a child. Apple has also extended the diversity internationally, with 32 new country flag emojis and seven new languages that Siri can speak.

All of this adds up to awesome international exposure and a great following for Apple, which is one of the top international companies in the world. According to the 2014 Fortune Global 500 List, Apple sat at number 15. With the Apple smart watch on the market, Apple has every intention of selling overseas and expanding its reach. And, despite its varying and successful strategies, the race of their emojis might be at the heart of their success.

(Photo: Emoji Stickers, Wicker Blog”by flickr user Wicker Paradise, via Attribution 2.0 License)