The latest buzz in the emoji world is the formal approval of Emoji 15.1 by the Unicode Consortium. Emojipedia, a key source for all emoji-related information, sheds light on the forthcoming changes:
- Six brand new emoji: A head shaking horizontally and vertically, a phoenix, a lime, a brown mushroom, and a broken chain.
- Introduction of four new family emoji combinations with gender-neutral options.
- A total of 118 new emoji, which includes 108 new direction-specific variations of existing people emoji.
Details and Specifications
Diving deep into the specifics:
- The phoenix emoji is a blend of the 🐦 bird and 🔥 fire emoji.
- All the new emoji designs, surprisingly, are derived from existing emoji. The approach used here involves a technique known as “zero-width joiner” sequences, wherein two or more existing emoji are combined to form a completely new one.
- For instance, the nodding and shaking head emojis are the fusion of the standard smiling face emoji with horizontal and vertical arrow emojis. Similarly, the broken chain represents a chain combined with the “collision” emoji.
- This innovative methodology not only brings in new characters but ensures a smoother transition for companies to incorporate them into their platforms.
Behind the Scenes: The Approval Process
The journey of an emoji from an idea to your smartphone screen is a meticulous one, and a non-profit standardization body called the Unicode Consortium oversees this process. Some key insights:
- Big players in the tech industry, like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are voting members of the Unicode Consortium, playing a decisive role in what gets added.
- Interestingly, this is the first instance of the Consortium specifying a direction for emoji, marking a significant change in the usual protocol.
- Promoting inclusivity remains at the heart of the Consortium’s mission. Hence, the introduction of gender-neutral family silhouette emoji.
What’s the Wait?
While the announcement has been made, users might have to hold their horses for a while. Tech giants, including Apple and Microsoft, often require several months to integrate new emojis into their respective software. While the timeline remains uncertain, it could be a year or more before we can seamlessly use the phoenix or lime emoji in our daily conversations.
The Larger Scope of Unicode 15.1
Although the limelight often focuses on emojis, the Unicode Standard is an extensive system used worldwide to display a multitude of characters in diverse languages. The current update, version 15.1, is an enhancement to last year’s 15.0 release:
- While no changes were made to the core specification, there are significant additions to emojis.
- Apart from emojis, the update introduces “622 new CJK [Chinese, Japanese, and Korean] characters.” These additions primarily cater to the urgent needs for use in public service databases in China.
After the Release
The role of the Unicode Consortium concludes with the release of a new version. The subsequent responsibility of introducing these new designs to devices worldwide falls on the shoulders of tech companies. If unfamiliar symbols, like them �, appear in messages after a new emoji release, it’s usually an indication that the device isn’t yet updated to display the latest characters.
The Impact on Digital Communication
Emojis, since their inception, have evolved from simple icons to complex symbols that encapsulate emotions, events, and even cultural nuances. This expansion of the emoji universe through Emoji 15.1 is poised to further diversify the way we convey feelings and ideas in the digital realm.
Broader Emotional Expressions
With the introduction of emojis like a head shaking both horizontally and vertically, digital communication can encompass a broader range of reactions. Such nuanced additions will allow users to convey agreement, disagreement, or ambiguity without the need for lengthy explanations.
Have an Emoji Idea?
If you’ve ever felt the current emoji lineup lacks something, the Unicode Consortium offers a platform for proposals. So if you’ve got an idea for an exciting emoji, gear up to submit it by April 2024, following the Consortium’s guidelines.
In conclusion, the announcement of Emoji 15.1 promises an exciting and more inclusive digital communication landscape. As we await their arrival, the digital world buzzes with anticipation to see how these new symbols will reshape online conversations and impact our everyday expressions.