It's only in beta for now, but this is what Apple's emoji update for 2020 looks like.
Normally the 'emoji set for 2021' would be announced sometime between January and March 2021. The schedule has changed, and this could put vendors in a pinch. More specifically: Apple who relies on a big emoji release each year to drive software updates. Android is more fragmented in who gets updates and when, so arguably less affected to roll out new emojis at any time.
Does Apple wait 13 months to October 2021 to support new emojis announced last month? Or does it change when it adds new emojis in future years?
The alternative: prepare the draft emoji set in advance, and when Unicode announces the next final set in September 2021, support those right away in October 2021. Or November 2021. Given Unicode originally pushed back releases from July to March, so vendors had more time before their annual release - this seems like it would be a challenge.
If you're planning on proposing a new emoji: don't! At least not yet. Unicode will re-open submissions in April 2021.
Emojis for 2021 are now final: Emoji 13.1
Emojis for 2022 are under review: Emoji 14.0 with the final list to be announced in around a year.
Proposals submitted in April 2021 will be eligible for inclusion in Emoji 15.0, due for approval late 2022 and on phones in 2023.
This makes zero sense to me. If you work with Unicode and vendors hoping to standardize skin tone options for the emoji set, the outcome of that is vendors implementing versions of their designs with skin tones.
To then come back years later and claim copyright infringement seems poorly thought out.
And more specifically, the imagery involved seems to imply that Apple 'copied' the iDiversicons emoji-like sticker designs, but that set was based on Apple's in the first place.
Compare Apple's 2008 oncoming fist emoji (which was white at the time, before changing to yellow after skin tones added) with the iDiversicons image in the article registered in 2015.
Putting aside legal argument about whether a human gesture is sufficiently distinct to copyright in the first place - even if this were a very original design, that design was on Apple platforms years before the images shown from the plaintiff.
I'm not a legal expert and don't enjoy defending giant companies, but this lawsuit feels wrong. I hope the judge sees the case for what it is. The precedent otherwise would be very limiting for new emoji proposals.
Why would a company ever want to engage discussions about better emoji representation in future, if risking being sued over implementing it?