In celebration of World Emoji Day, Apple has announced 12 new emojis that will be available in iOS later this year. The announcement was headlined by the addition of a hijab emoji that features a woman wearing a hijab.
Apple released a statement saying, “The new Emoji makes it easier for users to express themselves with greater diversity, additional animals and creatures, new smiley faces, and more.”
The campaign for a new emoji that represents women who wear the hijab began in September last year with a 15 year old Saudi teen living in Germany. Rayouf Alhumedhi submitted her proposal to Unicode, an international consortium that dictates the characters available for computer programming which includes emojis.
Of course online reaction was mixed, given the current political climate around the world. Most people were happy to see that there are additional emojis that can be used to represent themselves, their friends, and their family. However, some reactions were more negative with comments relating the hijab emoji to terrorism and Sharia law. Luckily, no one is forced to use the hijab emoji so anyone who doesn’t like it can ignore it when it appears on their smartphone. Seriously, can we all just chill out? It’s an emoji. Okay, moving on.
Of course, in addition to the hijab emoji, Apple released several emojis that were much less likely to get people on Twitter upset. There’s a man doing yoga, a dinosaur, a zombie, a zebra, and a white guy with a beard that looks a lot like Billy Mays.
The emoji has exploded in popularity as smartphones have become more and more ubiquitous. Facebook announced on World Emoji Day that 5 billion emojis are sent via Facebook messenger every day. That’s almost an emoji per person rate!
Of course, The Emoji Movie is also releasing in theaters on July 28th. You know you’ve really hit the big time when you get your own movie starring T.J. Miller. Of course we would still rather have T.J. Miller on Silicon Valley but that an entirely different article for another day.
So there you have it! New emojis are coming to a smartphone near you! Let us know if you’re a big fan of using emojis or if you keep your virtual keyboard locked on regular old text. Are there any emojis you think are still missing from the stable of great emoji choices? Comment below with your thoughts!