New Apple Emoji Update to Include Skin of Color Diversity

March 16, 2015
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New Emoji update incorporates dermatological skin color scale

GENEVA, IL. – March 10, 2015. The newest Apple update is coming soon and with it will be over 300 new Emoji options, including, for the first time, an assortment of faces and hands with different skin colors. For the past year, users have anticipated more diversity in the Emoji collection, after Apple representative, Katie Cotton, agreed with critics on the need for diversity in the Emoji character set in March 2014. Since then, Apple has been working closely with the Unicode Consortium, the coding system that allows the Emoji characters to be exchanged worldwide across all platforms, to address the diversity gap and update its Emoji icons.

The new versions of both iPhone and Mac operating systems (iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3) are currently being tested before public release and will feature the new racially diverse Emoji options. By clicking and holding any of the human Emoji characters, users can choose between six different skin tone options. These skin tone options are based on Harvard dermatologist, Dr. Fitzpatrick’s scale which assigns numerical classification to the color of human skin. The six classifications are based on how quickly UV light affects the different skin types. The different skin tone selections will be available for between 150 and 250 Emoji characters.

“We are excited that Apple has diversified the skin tones of its Emoji characters on the latest beta version of its OS X operating system, with a range of five skin colors.   Apple’s new OS X includes an updated Emoji keyboard featuring skin-tone variations based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is a skin-color classification system recognized by dermatologists. It’s a huge accomplishment that companies such as Apple are embracing racial diversity” said Marta I Rendon, MD, of Boca Raton, Florida, and current president of the Skin of Color Society.

This new version of the Apple operating systems is still in the last stage of testing. While there is currently no official release date set, sources expect to see the launch take place sometime in mid-March. Apple hopes the changes and new inclusion of skin of color in this update reflect its commitment to improving diversity and representing users across the world.

About Skin of Color Society

The Skin of Color Society was established in 2004 by Susan C. Taylor, MD. Its purpose is to promote awareness of and excellence within the area of special interest of dermatology- skin of color. The Society is committed to the education of health care providers and the general public on dermatologic health issues related to skin of color.

The Society supports research and other activities that impact individuals with skin of color. Partnerships with dermatologists from the national and international communities, professional medical organizations, and community, corporate and industry groups will ensure our success in serving all individuals with skin of color. We invite you to join us on this important endeavor.