Apple Reveals Some of the New Emoji Characters Coming to iOS 14

iOS 14 new emoji preview Credit: Emojipedia
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Today is World Emoji Day and to celebrate the occasion, Apple is offering up a first look at more than 100 new emojis that will be arriving later this year, likely with the release of iOS 14 this fall.

The new emojis are actually part of the Emoji 13.0 release that was approved earlier this year, which includes 62 entirely new emojis plus 55 variations on existing emojis for different skin tones and gender variations, including new gender-inclusive and gender-neutral options.

While it was a pretty safe bet that the new emoji would be coming to iOS this year, today is actually the first time that Apple has come out and previewed the new designs for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, giving us a taste of what they’ll actually look like on Apple’s devices; while the Unicode Consortium defines the overall emoji traits, developers are given some latitude as to how to style them, which is why the same emoji often look different on Android devices and on web services like Twitter than they do on the iOS platform.

In a first look on Emojipedia, Apple has specifically shown off 13 of what are presumably the most interesting of the new emojis, including a Dodo, Nesting Dolls, a Piñata, a Tamale, Pinched Fingers, a Boomerang, a Ninja, a Coin, an Anatomical Heart, a Beaver, a Transgender Symbol, Bubble Tea, and Lungs.

While Apple hasn’t yet shared its designs for any of the other new emojis, the post does highlight Smiling Face with Tear, Disguised Face, and People Hugging as others that will be coming to iOS this year as well.

Attention to Detail

Notably, Apple is approaching the new emojis with its usual penchant for details. For instance, two of the new emojis coming this year are an anatomically correct heart and pair of lungs, which include actual veins and arteries drawn onto them.

Although emojis are rarely seen in larger sizes, that hasn’t stopped Apple from adding some pretty incredible details to its own emoji designs, as illustrated by the nesting dolls, which when zoomed actually reveals that it’s been decorated with flower emojis.

Apple has added its own unique signatures to some of the other new emoji as well. For example, the Apple version of the new coin emoji has “The Crazy Ones,” clearly as an homage to Apple’s legendary Think Different campaign.

Emoji That Didn’t Make the Cut

The Emojipedia post notes that in keeping with the times there have been several calls for a mask-wearing emoji that shows a normal looking face, as opposed to the current version that depicts a sad or sick face.

However, Jeremy Burge, Emojipedia’s Chief Emoji Officer who also sites on the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee notes that proposals for new emoji can move pretty slowly, so it’s unlikely we’re going to see anything related to the novel coronavirus pandemic this year.

In fact, there’s a possibility that iOS 15 may not get any new emoji next year at all, since the Unicode Consortium has delayed the ratification of the Unicode 14.0 standard by about six months due to the ongoing pandemic. This could push Unicode 14.0 from being approved until as late as September, meaning that it would miss the release of iOS 15, although of course Apple would almost certainly roll whatever new emojis are included in Unicode 14.0 into a subsequent point release, but that might still not arrive until 2022.

That said, Burge does point to Apple’s new Memoji options that can already be seen in the iOS 14 betas, which include options to add various coloured face masks. Since Memoji is entirely controlled by Apple, it can add new changes much more quickly, without having to wait for approval from the Unicode Consortium. Of course, memoji also aren’t emoji — they’re not inserted as inline text characters in the same way as emoji is, but are rather simply sent out as sticker images.

When Are They Coming?

For now, however, the good news is that we’ll be able to enjoy the latest new collection of emoji this fall, although Burge suggests that based on Apple’s past releases they probably won’t arrive with the first iOS 14 release, but will be rolled into iOS 14.1 or iOS 14.2.

This has been the trend in most prior years, with new emoji coming in iOS 11.1 in 2017 and iOS 12.1 in 2018. Last year the Unicode 12.0 emoji didn’t arrive until iOS 13.2, likely because iOS 13.1 was pushed out within two weeks of the main iOS 13.0 release.

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