Apple Releases iOS 8.3, Update Introduces Ethnically Diverse Emoji

Apple Releases iOS 8.3, Update Introduces Ethnically Diverse Emoji
iPhone 6 Microsiervos Geek Crew / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Image from Flickr by Microsiervos Geek Crew

Apple has released iOS 8.3, the latest update for iOS 8, which incorporates new features, bug fixes and a set of emoji reflecting Apple’s diverse user base.


The emoji includes six skin-toned humanoid figures and national flags of more countries.

In February, an Apple spokesperson told ABC News during the beta testing of the update, “Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us.”

Katie Cotton, the former VP of worldwide corporate communications, told MTV that it was important to include diverse ethnicity.

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“Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms,” she said. “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

In addition, several languages for Siri – Russian, Danish, Turkish, Swedish, Dutch, Thai, and Portuguese – are also offered as part of the update.

However, the introduction of new emoji elicited criticism from Asian communities. In China, several people took to social media to voice their opinions that the yellow-hued humanoid emoji was offensive to Asians.

Jade Tran wrote on Twitter, “Is the yellow emoji suppose to represent Asians because I have never in my life seen an Asian lookin like that.”

According to Daily Mail, Apple sales doubled in China last year, while Samsung wasn’t as profitable.

Along with iOS 8.3, Apple also rolled out an update to Mac OS X Yosemite that incorporates a new Photos application among bug fixes and enhancements. The app lets users sync photos and edit them across all their devices.

The update will be available for iPhone 4S and later models, various iPads and the 5th generation iPod Touch.

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