💬 The Wrap
217 new emojis! That's how many were approved in the most recent list from Unicode, and have just come to iOS 14.5 in its latest beta. What does that mean in practice?
Three new smileys, two new hearts, 10 variations of the bearded person emoji, and 200 variations of the emoji couples.
Why call it 217 new emojis then? Well, it's tricky to use a smaller number. Does the new 🧔♀️ Woman: Beard emoji count as a new emoji to you? Probably. What about the skin tone options for it? Maybe?
It's surely worth noting that 💑 Couple with Heart and its similar versions 👩❤️👨👩❤️👩👨❤️👨💏👩❤️💋👩👩❤️💋👨👨❤️💋👨 will support mixed skin tones right? This has been much requested for years, especially for those with darker skin tones. The yellow is meant to be neutral, but is in effect more useful for those with light skin.
These won't be only-yellow on the keyboard any more. Allowing each person in those emojis a different skin tone adds up to 200 new emojis.
What Emojipedia ends up doing is counting the 'big number' then explaining it. Whether you count this update as five new emojis, or two hundred and seventeen new emojis is up to you. We're just trying to give a consistent answer.
If we called this "five new emojis plus some gender options plus some couples options" I'm not sure that helps, especially not over time. Whatever the number: they're coming to more phones in the coming months, and I love the ambiguity of the face in clouds. And who hasn't wanted to exhale at some point in the past year, week, or day?
📲 First Look: 217 New Emojis in iOS 14.5
Coming to iOS 14.5 in March or April. Companies love to use phrases like "Spring 2021" but that leaves the dates ambiguous, especially for Antipodeans like me. So I prefer to use months, which are universal.,
These new emojis are in beta now. Other than the new emojis, the main part of this update that grabbed attention is removing of the blood from the syringe, making it more appropriate for use as a vaccine emoji.
💉 Vaccine Emoji Comes to Life
There's already been a pivot to using the syringe emoji when discussing vaccination, as shown by the words used with that emoji in Jan 2021 vs a year earlier. Not long after Apple's iOS 14.5 beta release, Google also updated its repository with the change. Unclear when that will come to phones.
More on this from CNN's resident emoji reporter Kaya Yurieff, the BBC and also analysis from Emojipedia's Deputy Emoji Officer Keith Broni in the New York Times.
Safe to say that COVID news is still encompassing all news in 2021. As I told Insider, I was so happy when my grandparents were vaccinated last month, and it's always a joy to see anyone's news of themselves, family or friends getting the vaccine 💕
🤔 Emoji 13.1 available in ChromeOS and YouTube chat before Android
Google's evolving emoji strategy seems to be: upload new emojis to the Google Noto Color Emoji repository early, but there's no company-wide strategy for which Google platforms get support first.
The fact that YouTube Chat and ChromeOS got new emoji support before Android might make sense to internal teams and timelines, but is odd from a messaging point of view. It would be like if Apple supported new emojis on Apple Watch months before iPhone. There's no harm in it, but it does muddy the water for a user wanting to know when 'Google platforms' get the latest emojis.
In the end what people tell me is: "I just want to know when my phone will get new emojis" which is still a very complicated question on the Android side of things. Pixel continues to lead the way here, but it's less clear for most other Android phones.
I welcome any moves for Android phones to not get left behind without updates, and if rumor is correct that Google will continue to uncouple emoji updates from OS releases, the hope is that will make answers like this clearer for the vast number of people with non-Pixel Android phones.
💖 What Every Heart Emoji Really Means
Does the green heart really mean jealousy, or is the black heart the goth heart? Based on the primary uses for these hearts, that's not showing in this analysis. One clear finding: the blue heart seems to be the most neutral, but that also means it is most used by brands 💙
Originally published in time for Valentine's Day but this is pretty relevant any time.
(an aside: this article noted some stats about a certain heart being used frequently in reference to a certain member of a certain Korean boy band, and caused a certain someone [me] to be bombarded for days by fans of a different boy band member. I make passing mention to this on the latest Clockwise podcast episode)
🪦 If you use this emoji, Gen Z will call you old
The new headline now reads 'Sorry, millennials. The 😂 emoji isn't cool anymore', but the idea is the same. It's the most popular emoji and yet 😂 Face with Tears of Joy can't catch a break.
😂 Is the Laughing Crying Emoji Cancelled? Here's What We Know.
After pointing out what Gen Z are saying about this emoji on TikTok last month, the idea gathered a bit more pace after CNN covered it.
Anyone diving in now might be mistaken for thinking the idea of this emoji being hated is now, but the idea has been floating around for at least five or six years now. This is my summary of where we're at with it.
Multiple people have told me I've since 'ruined' them using 😂 but I promise, you can keep using it!
❤️ Concept: iOS emoji keyboard favorites
Even simpler than this: a press-and-hold to 'stick' a recent to become a 'pinned recent' (basically a fave) would potentially be a straightforward way to achieve something similar. Or just for the keyboard to strike a better balance of long-term fave based on use (rather than a weird mix of recent and often-used, as iOS has today).
🌈 Connected Podcast
Myke Hurley makes the point that “we know that Apple use emoji to get people to update their phones", relating it to the app tracking transparency also coming to iOS 14.5: "so this could be an interesting carrot and stick”.
The latest emoji updates were likely coming from Apple about this time anyway, but there's always someone making a call internally about exactly which features should arrive in the same release.
Often a boring bug fix release may include a minor feature improvement, or if there's any slightly more contentious changes, also including a crowd-pleaser is a smart strategy. Having said that, I'm all for the app transparency improvements, and don't view them as contentious.
(the Overcast link here jumps straight to the relevant discussion chapter on the web)
🧑💼 Unicode Consortium looking to hire an Executive Director
A paid job at Unicode, which would likely be a good match for a number of Emoji Wrap subscribers. If this might be you, take a look!
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📨 This month's newsletter has been compiled by me, Jeremy Burge. I'm the founder and Chief Emoji Officer at Emojipedia, who occasionally TikToks about boat living.