Apple has been expressing its opinion regarding emoji standards for quite some time, and on Wednesday, the Unicode Consortium approved its latest recommendations. Earlier this month, the iPhone maker gave a suggestion to Unicode of adopting new job-related emojis for astronauts, firefighters, judges, pilots and painters and options for both male and female versions of each profession.
Apple making powerful changes to its emoji portfolio
Apple’s recommended icons will be included in the upcoming Unicode Emoji Version 4.0 update, according to Unicode member Jeremy Burge. Substantial improvements to the emoji standards’ gender diversity and skin tone options will be included as well.
Apple’s recommendations are based on what Google proposed in May and got approval in July with the intent of better representing female workers. There will be 16 new job emojis included in Unicode 4.0 and a total of 32 icons representing male and female versions, according to The Verge.
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Apple recently released a beta version of its upcoming iOS 10 software, making subtle but powerful changes to its own emoji character set. Some of those changes were replacing the handgun emoji with a squirt gun and releasing more female versions of sports- and job-related icons before the 4.0 update got finalized, notes The Verge.
The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization that standardizes emojis across operating systems and hardware. Representatives from major tech companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are part of it. Individual members who are responsible for developing, reviewing and maintaining the standards are also part of it.
Adding ZWJ sequences
Emojipedia noted in a report that Apple engineer Peter Edberg filed a recommendation to update Unicode’s emoji standard to add zero-width joiner (ZWJ) sequences for male and female astronaut, judge, pilot, artist and firefighter characters. ZWJ sequences are non-printing characters that help modify or join two emojis together to form a new character, explains Apple Insider.
When it comes to professions, the ZWJ sequence helps join common man or woman emojis with an object. For example, a male firefighter emoji incorporates the code sequence “man, firetruck.” Several professions are part of the “Emoji ZWJ Sequence: Gendered Role, with object” list. The list includes artist, teacher, technologist, judge, cook, scientist, mechanic, farmer, astronaut, health worker, firefighter, singer and office worker.
The review period for Emoji 4.0 that will append Unicode 9.0 will end in October, while the release is planned for November. Developers and beta testers running iOS10, which will debut later this year, already have access many new characters, says Apple Insider.