Apple to push for more diversity in emoji characters

There are more than 400 characters in Apple’s emoji library, but good luck finding a face that’s non-Caucasian (I counted two). That may soon change. Responding to an MTV query regarding that lack of diversity, Apple says it hopes to expand the emoji universe to be more racially inclusive.

First popularized in Japan, emojis are popular emoticons depicting characters and symbols, often used in chats, text messages and email.

MTV Act blogger Joey Parker recently emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook after pop star Miley Cyrus and actor Tahj Mowry first called attention to the topic, and he received this response from an Apple spokeswoman:

“Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms.  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.”

This isn’t the first time Apple has pushed to expand the diversity of emojis; in 2012, it added gay and lesbian characters with its iOS 6 update. Apple gave no timetable as to when we might see the new emojis.

Mike Murphy Mike Murphy (382 Posts)

Mike Murphy is a web producer at the Mercury News, and also writes for Good Morning Silicon Valley and 60-Second Business Break.