We’ve already got avocados, fairies and unicorns, yet people with disabilities have not been represented in emoji form – until now.
Apple has announced we’ll soon be able to start using its new inclusive emojis, including wheelchair users, a guide dog, prosthetic limbs and a hearing aid.
Unicode – the organization that manages the distribution of emojis – announced it had approved new emojis representing a range of disabilities back in February. But to mark World Emoji Day, Apple confirmed the designs will be available on your Apple keypads by autumn 2019.
“Celebrating diversity in all its many forms is integral to Apple’s values,” a spokesperson said. “These new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.”
An estimated 6.2 million Canadians 15 years and older had one or more disabilities that restricted them in their everyday activities, according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability.
People on Twitter welcomed the announcement.
I must say being in a wheelchair and seeing they added wheelchair emoji is very cool— corey webster (@corey20090) July 17, 2019
Some people questioned why it has taken so long for Apple to create and release the emojis in the first place.
Apparently, Apple has released new emojis for #WorldEmojiDay that includes new disability ones. To think that it's taken this long for them to make a wheelchair user emoji is disappointing.— Sara Barta (@SaraBartaMusic) July 17, 2019
But the true test of a company’s commitment to #disability is the composition of its #workforce. If the #emojis weren't conceived by the very ppl w/ disabilities they represent, then @Apple, like any other company, is not going to get it all right. https://t.co/H4hoQ8xRHw— Carol Glazer (@CarolGlazer) July 17, 2019
The emojis will launch as a part of a large keyboard update by Apple.
There’s a big change to the “holding hands” emoji, often used to represent couples (👫). Users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone and gender to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.
Other updates include new food items, such as a waffle, falafel, slab of butter and garlic, as well as new animals like the sloth, flamingo, orangutan and skunk. You can find all the new emojis coming later this year here.
With a file from HuffPost Canada.