Apple introduced 300 new emojis on Wednesday when it updated its operating system for iPhone and iPad, including racially diverse and gay family and couple icons.
Apple worked with the Unicode Consortium, the group responsible for emoji standardization, to make the new changes, and we've compiled a comprehensive guide below.
Previously, all emojis that depicted humans had white skin, but now the skin tone defaults to bright yellow.
This initially caused an outcry and worries of racism, as some thought the yellow skin tone was somehow related to Asians. It turns out, however, that the yellow color has nothing to do with Asians, and looks like the same color yellow used for smiley-face emojis or Lego people.
Above and beyond the new default yellow, users can choose from five skin tones for each human emoji. That means users can choose a black Santa Claus, policeman, or angel.
The Unicode Consortium used the dermatologist-developed Fitzpatrick scale as a guide for the new skin tones.
While many were delighted by the new racially diverse emojis, some users have noted that there remains a lack of curly and natural hair, like afros, as well as emoji options to depict red-heads.
Gay, Lesbian Couples and Families
Previously, only two emojis were widely interpreted in the U.S. as gay or lesbian — one that depicted two men holding hands and one that depicted two women holding hands.
Now, Apple has released emojis that show the faces of two men and the faces of two women making kissing gestures with a heart in between them.
Beyond same-sex couplehood, Apple also added a number of new emojis that can be interpreted as depicting families with children headed by same-sex couples.
Many people pointed out that the new emojis many interpreted as gay or lesbian could also represent "bromance" or same-sex friendship (in South Asia, heterosexual male friends often hold hands).
Likewise, new family emojis could be interpreted as gay or lesbian, but could also be interpreted as depicting nuclear family structures that include aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. For example, the family emoji with two adult women and two female children could represent a single mother of two who lives with her sister.
Some critics pointed out that single-parent families and families with more than two kids could not be depicted even with the new set of emojis.
Other critics pointed out that users cannot change the skin tones of the so-called couple and family emojis, so there is no way to be gay and black — only gay and default yellow.
Apple added a slew of new flags to the default emoji keyboard, including Australia and Canada.
Many celebrated the new additions, while some, like the Armenians, felt left out.
Among the miscellaneous emojis Apple introduced is a new icon depicting its forthcoming watch, as well as its iMac desktop computer.
Elsewhere, many people noticed that the Vulcan salute was supported by the new software update, but does not appear on the default emoji keyboard. That means Star Trek fans will have to copy and paste it from somewhere else.
Many emoji enthusiasts were disappointed that there remains no icons for tacos, flipping the bird, robots, mustaches, or menorahs, among other items.
Update to iOS 8.3
The new world of Apple emojis will only appear correctly on phones that have been updated to the latest software.
If you or the person you're sending emojis to haven't upgraded, the text will be garbled and inaccurate, not to mention beset by alien invaders.
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