Apple going racially and sexually diverse with new suite of emoji

24 Feb 2015

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New skin tone options on Apple emoji, with a same sex couple on the left. Image via Twitter

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The latest beta update to Apple’s OS X operating system includes a radically redesigned emoji suite with skin tone modifiers and same-sex couples.

It also includes updated technology images with the latest iPhone picture and even the yet-to-be-released Apple Watch.

The racially diverse emoji have been a year in the making, with reports in March last year that Apple was looking to broaden a popular aspect of its communications offering.

“Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms,” explained an Apple spokesperson at the time, as public pressure started to gain on the company.

“There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

Last November, Unicode came out with a proposal allowing for changes to be made, which was edited by engineers from both Google and Apple.

Two weeks ago, Apple seeded iOS 8.3 to developers, with CarPlay, music streaming and new emojis.

The new Apple Watch is included in the upcoming emoji. Image via 9to5mac

Now, as reported by 9to5 Mac, OS X 10.10.3 will see a whole new photo system, called Photos – which bundles up what was previously leaked – as well as the new emoji.

“The latest build also highlights Wi-Fi and Screen Sharing as focus areas for testing improvements,” reported 9to5mac.

Only available to testers at the moment, its not yet known when the full release will be. However, The Guardian claimed to have asked when “redheads will finally be given an emoji presence.”

Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com