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Apple continues focus on inclusivity with 300 new, diverse emoji in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3

The iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite beta 2 updates are part of Apple's ongoing efforts to address diversity, and it's extending beyond organization and into software, with a much wider array of cultures and ethnicities for face and hand symbols.

Emoji have become popular because they're efficient, sometimes amusing, but mostly humanizing. They allow for the inclusion of emotion and feeling beyond what plain text can transmit. It's for that very reason that emoji need to be inclusive — so that people everywhere can see themselves reflected in their use.

The way it works is like this: The iOS 8.3 or Yosemite keyboards starts off with a "neutral" (i.e. classic yellow) emoji. Tap/click and hold and you get five alternate skin tone options. These are based on the Fitzpatrick scale for standard dermatological representation, as adopted by the Unicode Consortium.

In addition to the flags and skin tones, there's also greater gender diversity for families, new electronics, and more. No word yet on some of the more controversial elements of the new Unicode standard.

iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3 are still in beta, so it's possible that the exact number, style, color, and character of the new emoji will change between this beta and its release — expected some time this spring.

It's great to see Apple using its popularity and power to push for more and better inclusivity. Hopefully it's just the beginning, and for all platforms.

3:30pm: Updated with implementation details and OS X 10.10.3 integration.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

64 Comments
  • The new Emoji picker should be a huge improvement. It reminds me of the Emoji++ app.
    Are there any Native American emojis? It seems like every other skin tone has been covered.
  • I didn't see any with feathers so it's not looking good
  • As an Asian, those Simpson-like jaundiced folk don't really represent me. For an "inclusivity" update from the most politically correct company in the world, those icons are shockingly exaggerated.
  • It's unclear if those are "asian" or the standard emoji "neutral" emoji color (like the smiling face set) with the other colors based off them. If "asian", I'd expect they'll get toned way down before release.
  • Ah, Rene, you were faster than I was.
  • Assume positive intent, I guess. But putting realistic face features on a yellow smiley face brings it into the Uncanilly Racist Valley.
  • Looking into it, they appear based on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzpatrick_scale
  • That's an odd scale. It includes hair colour differentiation for the "white" end of the scale, but by the time it reaches the "browns" all mention of hair colour is gone. Just as the emoji's seems to indicate that all brown people have brown hair, until they get really brown, then they have exclusively black hair. weird.
  • I thought the same. I am also Asian, and it seems a bit off. Are those all the options, and are the yellow faces just the default? Since emoji start with yellow smilies and stuff.
  • Exactly. I'm only slightly surprised there isn't a bright red toned one for Native Americans.
  • because that would be seem a bit racist.
  • Wonder how many people were actually clamoring for this and how will these display on non apple phones, since they aren't standard.
  • Faces themselves are still standard. They will just show as the standardized version on other phones. Just not in the selected color Sent from the iMore App
  • I wonder how standard emoji really are. I sent a Japanese and German flag (don't askt why) to an Android friend and his end just displayed "JP DE"
  • I believe these new Emoji will be included in the Unicode 7.0 standard. Apple is simply supporting the standard.
  • Jup. Even the skin-tone modifier is part of the standard. Apple is just adopting it.
  • Why not just be able to customize your own avatar, like a Mii or an Xbox avatar, and then generate all the emoticons on the fly... should be possible ?
  • Good feature request!
  • That would be adorable
  • Very good idea. A roll your own emoji would be nice.
  • That would be fun lol but then I'd wonder how they'd even show up on other people's devices. It wouldn't be any fun if only I can see my little creation lol
  • To me they look more racist than inclusive.
  • This is hilarious. I'm glad to see they're making the effort, but this reminds me more of black face. They need to do more than just color the face in, they are showing that they have a lack of knowledge about what goes on outside of white communities.
  • Actually i think it shows they are keeping them the standard that will work on other phones outside of apple.
    By just changing the color it assures someone on say android will see the text character still. Maybe not colored at all but same face. Other iphones will see the colors.
    If it was a changed face then non apple phones might see a block or a different face than you sent Sent from the iMore App
  • What exactly should they do aside from coloring the face in? What would've made you happier? If they added a pointy straw hat to the Asian emoji? Or maybe a chieftain headdress for Native Americans? They just tried to add skin tone for some inclusivity, not to make statement on society's racial ills. Seems to me that this wasn't worth it all considering how overly sensitive some of you are.
  • Updated to reflect that the new emoji appear to be based on the Fitzpatrick scale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzpatrick_scale
  • This is a joke I found a site with better Emoji for Black Folk. This is like the Black Barbie doll. I do applaud Apple for making an effort, but it should represent Asian, Hispanic, Black, African, Afro-Hispanic, Native Americans features...
  • By trying to be inclusive they're being exclusive. What happened to a universal happy face? Oh well, I don't ever use them anyways.
  • Good lord. This is so bad it's laughable. lol. What in the F is with the yellow emojis. I know they did not just do that. It's amazing that all they did with the white and black ones is change the skin tone. Same features. Man, I know it's well intentioned but I'm guessing they don't get a lot of feedback at Apple HQ from the minority contingent assuming there is much of one. I'm gonna bet they all thought this was a brilliant idea. It's pretty clueless in execution though.
  • Wow...Asians aren't yellow, horrible try Apple. In fact...NO people are. Asians are actually BROWN generally with skin tone similar to hispanics. Try just leaving that racist caricature color out, ok? One would think that because you manufacture all your stuff in China, the software folks would be able to accurately portray the color of the people that actually build the phones. Also, the Fiztgerald scale you linked to says nothing about YELLOW people. Disgusting Apple...get a clue.
  • I'm assuming that would be the generic yellow emoji. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Just so I remember we are talking about the emoji right? And the colors of the emoji? And how some people might be offended about the colors of the emoji? Got it. #firstworldproblems
  • Amen. Who cares. Though I like how when the comments started reflecting people being offended, Renee ran to see who was behind these Emoji representations. Basically went from "Hey, look at inclusive Apple!" to "Hey, these are based on something other than Apple!"
  • People have been asking for a black emoji, claiming that they were not represented except for in the "towelhead" emoji. But the point of the yellow was to not offend anyone, but people will always look for a shaft to put up their rear. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • lol at "Save me based Google." .... thats hilarious!
  • Exactly people asked for these emojis. Now there complaining Sent from the iMore App
  • Holy crap over 300!!!!!!!!!
  • What about the green people. I know some people that are green. Apple sucks because they aren't representing the green people! Racist!! Apple is the most politically correct company. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • And where are the transgender Emoji? Inclusive my arse.
  • Fun fact, they tend to look like typical people. Unless you're asking for all the pride flags, because that's actually not a terrible idea. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • What a sexist thing to say. I know transgender people and many of them don't fit either male or female stereotypical looks. Your cis-privilege is showing.
  • my point is that you're not really going to walk down the street and be like "That lady was born a male, it's so obvious" That's what I meant by they look
    like typical people. Because they are. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Obviously you haven't been to KY
  • And still no middle finger emoji. Come on apple lol.
  • There is one now, the question is will Apple support it? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Honestly, when I saw the yellow person I couldn't stop thinking about how racist it was :s Sent from the iMore App
  • It’s not about the standard yellow smileys, those are still only yellow, but about the emoji that show human faces. These are indeed caucasian.
  • No matter what Apple (or other companies) do for emoji, they can't win. Pleasing most of the people most of the time is risky, especially given all the different platforms etc.
  • If you're offended by emoji, you are a liberal.
  • What's wrong with being a liberal? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Because liberals get offended at everything.
  • Ill bsh ur hed in. Cheeky cunt. Better? Is my liberal showing? "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • We be NASCAR cars and Numbers Sent from the iMore App
  • I guess this is the mandated Social Justice Warrior post for the week.
  • Where is the Bruce Jenner emoji?
  • Instead of diverse emoji's I would be interested in more emoji's that are needed.
    I also wonder why does Apple not want it's own icons as an emoji?
  • Those are just embarrassing Sent from the iMore App
  • why there are 3 shades of brown people and why there's yellow one ?
  • Isn't this just supposed to be based on the Unicode standard? This isn't something Apple did all by themselves, is it?
    And yes, the first thing I noticed was no one I could consider Native American, and the Asian doesn't look particularly Asian. And which one would be considered Inuit?
  • Where's the bald, white, goateed, middle-aged, straight man with geeky glasses Emoji? Not inclusive!! WHAAAAA!! Seriously, folks. Get a grip.
  • The yellow emotion looks ridiculous. Im Asian and my skin is nowhere that yellow lol, more like the 3rd one from the left. Sent from the iMore App
  • Do you really need to end the article with the Apple worship? Can't you just let us draw our own conclusions? Sent from the iMore App
  • I really love the large varieties of Emojis introduced with iOS 8.3. Apart from this the feature which allows Siri to read out Webpages, text messages is really useful when one is not in mood to read then user can listen to Siri. For more details about the feature follow the link - http://www.techuntold.com/how-to-get-siri-to-read-anything-out-loud/
  • Un Cairo Corte condannato estromesso presidente Mohamed Morsi a morte sabato con l'accusa di cospirare con militanti stranieri di uscire dalla prigione dell'Egitto durante la rivolta di quattro anni fa.
    http://giochiditrucchi.com/emulatore-3ds-nintendo-3ds-emulatore/