Apple Proposed New Emojis Representing People with Disabilities
We'd love to see these new characters make the cut.
A little over two years ago, Apple finally added new skin tones to its selection of emojis. Finally, iPhone users could text with emojis that looked like them instead of the generic bright yellow skin color. (The following year, it finally added female fitness emojis.) Now, Apple is pushing to continue making emojis more diverse by proposing new emojis to represent people with disabilities. (Side note: You need these emoji keyboards if you're obsessed with fitness.)
ICYDK, Apple doesn't just add its own emojis; it proposes new additions to the Unicode Consortium, which oversees the emoji standard so that emojis are recognizable across platforms. (Anyone can submit an idea but the proposal process is rigorous.) Apple proposed a variety of emojis representing people with disabilities to be included in the next update to the Unicode standard. "At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs," the proposal reads.
"Adding emoji emblematic to users' life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one's own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one." (Related: Trending Twitter Hashtag Empowers People with Disabilities)
Apple suggested a guide dog, a service dog, individuals with white canes to represent blind people, people making the deaf sign, an ear with a hearing aid, people in both manual and mechanized wheelchairs, and a prosthetic arm and leg. Apple evaluated its selections based on a standard of criteria that includes whether they're represented in existing emojis and how frequently they're requested.
Some Twitter users have praised Apple for taking a step toward inclusivity.
Others have suggested the proposal has room for improvement.
Unicode gets the final word on whether or not the new emoji will become a reality, and it could take a while. In the meantime, you can celebrate the fact that redhead, bald, and curly-haired emojis are slated for a June 2018 release.