Thursday, March 27, 2014

Apple Intending to Update its Library of Emojis

Apple, Google and Microsoft together with other tech firms design their own versions of their 800 basic emoji characters and how they ought to appear. Apple it was reported has vowed that it will now update its library of emoticons and smileys called emojis to fill the diversity gap after the complaints of celebrities about the cartoon emoticons lacking diversity which was conveyed through email by MTV Act blogger Joey Parker to Apple CEO Tim Cook and received a reply from Katie Cotton, Apple’s Vice President of worldwide corporate communication, stating that their emoji characters were based on the Unicode standard which was necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms with a need of more diversity in the emoji character set and that they have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update their standard’. Cotton though did not make a mention on when Apple intends to update its emojis.

More Ethnic Diversity in Range of Emoji

Apple it was said wants more ethnic diversity in the basic range of emoji that are available to text messaging apps, adding that it was operating the body responsible in deciding the range of standard graphic symbols which could be added to text messages. Presently the characters have dozens of faces of people which appear white though only two of the symbols are said to be Asian and none are black. A list had been developed and maintained since 2010 by the Unicode Consortium, a Silicon Valley based nonprofit organization consisting of major computer firms, software producers, user groups and several others to ensure that different devices and mobile carriers can altogether share a basic set. Emojis which are based on a Unicode character set allow them to be displayed across platforms where the changes or any type of addition to these characters need to go through the Unicode Consortium.

Emojis – Text with Expressive Power

Apple’s emojis depict a variety of objects, moods together with people including art for LGNT couples some of which was included in its last update. Several users have observed lack of diversity with regards to emojis especially African-Americans. The fact that emoji had become popular first in Japan; the current list of Unicode has only two Asian people; a man with a turban and a man with Gua Pi Mao which is a type of a Chinese hat. Broadcaster had approached the company after the petition had been posted informing Apple to increase the ethnic diversity which was found within its emojis keyboard. It was stated that the keyboard has already offered a graphic which shows a same sex couple and informed the company to present people with skin tone on a wider range. An Oxford University research, Bernie Hogan has been studying the use of emoji as a part of his research on how the users represent themselves on the internet. According to him it seemed to be a trivial problem since many device owners were now more reliant on the tool stating the emoji existed first and foremost as a purpose to augment text with expressive power and if they restrict the sort of people who are used in the images it may restrict the expressive power of the user and would not feel that emoji speak for them.

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