Ever wondered why you could only choose between a blonde princess or a blue-eyed brunette from the #iPhone's default emoji keyboard? Or a traditional family, or a white baby? #Apple is changing that with the next releases of iOS, its mobile software, and OS X, its operating system for Macintosh computers.
Users will be able to choose from a much broader variety of emojis, with different skin tones, ages, and contexts. The first hint that this was happening came with the pre-release update of OS X 10.10.3, sent to developers earlier this month. On Tuesday, Apple sent the second OS X 10.10.3 pre-release and also a new beta for iOS 8.3 testers, confirming the change. 9to5Mac and TheNextweb were the first to discover the new emojis, which include the flags for 32 countries that previously weren't available.
According to developers testing the releases, the human emojis will come with the option of six skin tones. Interesting enough, Apple is not the first to release black emojis; Oju Africa, a startup based in Mauritius, did just that last year.
But for Apple, this is more than just racially diverse emojis. Aligning with the company's push for diversity, the keyboards will come with new family sets, from gay couples with two kids to lesbian couples with one daughter.
"I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me", Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote last October on a BusinessWeek editorial, coming out publicly for the first time. A few months before that, the company published its first diversity report, and Cook said he wasn't happy with it and wanted to see more done. "Our definition of diversity goes far beyond the traditional categories of race, gender, and ethnicity," he acknowledged in a letter that accompanied the report. "It includes personal qualities that usually go unmeasured, like sexual orientation, veteran status, and disabilities."
Apple, that hit record sales and profits with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, hasn't set final release dates yet. The company is expected to launch a public beta program mid-March.