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iOS 10: Apple launches 100 new emojis in 'diversity' drive

03 August

Apple has launched a raft of new emojis to its operating system in a move to modernise its much-loved communication symbols.

The tech giant will update the library to make it more gender equal, introducing more images of women playing sports and doing jobs and activities previously considered suitable only for men.

The update, which will be rolled out fully with iOS 10 this autumn, includes female surfers, cyclists, swimmers, police officers and construction workers.

Apple's gender rebalancing act has worked both ways: it has added male versions of previously female-only emojis, including men receiving haircuts and scalp massages. The update also includes a rainbow-flag character.

The company says it wants to "ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere".

In an additional response to user feedback, Apple will replace its handgun emoji with a less sinister water pistol. Anti-gun campaigners have welcomed the move, but not everyone is convinced the change is anything beyond virtue signalling.

This is not the first time Apple has made such a move. The company included a range of skin colours in it's iOS 9.1 release last year, although it was criticised for using a very yellow colour for Asian skin.

Sometimes seen as merely frivolous, emojis hold an influential place in the public imagination. A poll last year found that nearly half of US adult internet users had used the images, with 37 per cent of that number saying they used them often or sometimes. The survey excluded teenagers, among whom emojis are particularly popular.

iOS 10: All the big features and how to get it

15 June

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