In an effort to broaden its “emoji diversity”, Apple is introducing some 300 new emoji. Developer preview builds include a range of new country flags for iOS and OS X that only includes one out of a possible 53 from Africa: South Africa. Uhm, what was that about diversity? How people of the world would exactly use our national flag and what its emoji equivalent would become shorthand for we can’t quite predict. If the famous nail-painting emoji have become shorthand for “I’m not bothered” and “Haters gonna hate”, our Rainbow Nation colours come to stand for something completely different.
As for the rest of the new emoji symbols, users will be able to change emoji skin tones to different hues on the so-called “standard for dermatology” FitzPatrick scale. That means instead of sending white Santas into the world this Christmas, you’d be able to send “diversity sensitive” black, brown and yellow Santas.
Since the Eggplant emoji is now used to communicate “all manner of lascivious intent” for looking like a penis, and the rapper Drake disputes the meaning of the emoji he had tattooed on his arm (are those praying hands or a high five), the range of new emoji will add so much to our already amusing interpretations of them. Although its understandable that making emoji is a pretty laborious process, we would’ve liked to see more African flags at least.
Regardless, the history and evolution of emoji is a fascinating one — go read more about it here.
— Kara Kane (@KaraKane_kk) September 25, 2014