The deal with Apple’s new emojis

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April 17, 2015

(Courtesy of Alexina Estrada)

(Courtesy of Alexina Estrada)

Recently Apple released new emojis for their products. Personally, I was super excited to finally have some options and more realistic choices of emojis to match my moods.

However, I’m barely satisfied. That’s about it. When you get the update, the layout of all the emojis is different. It’s a continuous roll instead of sections. You can still choose a specific section like food, people, travel and what not, but things blend together now. Some emojis are even put into new sections, like the three monkeys that represent see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil; they were moved to the animal section. It took me a bit to find all my favorite emojis.

Besides the new layout , you can now choose the skin tone of several emojis. The ones that are specifically a person’s face, the salsa dancer and some of the athletes offer you five choices — six if you count the “neutral yellow.” When you first update your phone, you may notice all these emojis look like  “Simpsons” characters, minus Homer’s cowlick and Marge’s giant blue hair. (Come on, Apple! I’m sure SOMEONE  would have brought attention to the racist implications of this decision.) When you press the “baby” emoji, and you hold on it, you’re given five more skin tone choices ranging from lighter skin tones to darker ones. Once you make a selection, it saves it to your emojis. You can always change it or make a new selection later too.

I’m thinking, “Alright, cool!” until I see the options. It’s only the skin tone that has changed. Not the eyes or the hair, just the skin. See, I like the middle emoji, but the skin tone doesn’t match me perfectly. I have curly hair too, and I don’t have blue eyes like some of the options. I’m all for having more choices, but can we have enough so all people can enjoy these emojis? I want to personally use the “sassy secretary” emoji that matches my skin tone with some curly black hair. Marge would be very upset about this.

On a similar note, the new skin tones have also opened doors for people to use the emojis to make racist jokes. An article from The Independent mentions how the east Asian and south Asian emojis were the first emojis to be racist because of their representations with slit eyes and a turban. The Independent says now we have the “white emoji wearing masks.”

Another new feature is that Apple made LGBTQ couples and families. I think that’s so awesome, but I don’t enjoy the fact that these emojis don’t include the option of changing the skin tones! These are only in the “neutral yellow.”

I do really appreciate the fact that Apple added new flags! Finally, I can use the actual American flag or the Mexican flag instead of one that sorta kinda looked like them.

My thing is, Apple took how long before they came out with these emoji updates? So why did they only half-ass this update? I am no computer science engineer or app developer, but I’m sure that taking a bit longer to add an option to create your own skin tone, choose different hair styles or colors, eye colors, and different interracial and LGBTQ families wouldn’t have been so much harder.

So I’m satisfied for now. I appreciate the update, but I do want to see Apple come up with some more emojis with more caution and hopefully not take too long.

The real question that we all have been asking  still remains … where is the middle finger emoji?


The deal with Apple’s new emojis was published on April 17, 2015 in Opinions

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