The Unicode Consortium have chosen the latest batch of images to become the emoji class of 2019, which will be appearing on a phone near you in the not too distant future.
There’s 59 new emoji, and a total of 230 variations, once you account for the multiple skin color options for the ones depicting humans. For example, the new ‘couple holding hands’ emoji will let you change either person’s skin color to any of the six available. (NOTE: These images as the UC’s reference emoji only. The one’s you’ll find on your smartphone or other messaging apps will be based on these, but will look slightly different.)
Another big theme is representing disability. There are now icons for mechanical arms and legs, deafness and a hearing aid, motorized and unpowered wheelchairs and probing canes (both on their own and in use), plus guide and service dogs.
While we’re on the topic of animals, there’s another five in addition to the two dogs: sloth, otter, orangutan, skunk and flamingo.
On the food front, we now have garlic and onion as represented ingredients, plus waffle, falafel, butter and oysters. There are also three new drink options - ice cube, juice box, and mate (a South American drink).
Some new miscellaneous objects are also included, such as three kinds of swimwear, a safety vest, a sari, ballet shoes, a banjo, a diya lamp, an axe, a blood drop, an adhesive bandage, a stethoscope, a chair and a razor.
There’s been one traditional smiley face expression added in the form of a yawning expression, a new pinching hand (which will be good for specifying small amounts too) and two new hearts in brown and white. The square and circle shapes have also gained new colors each, seven for the former, and five for the latter.
However, the unfortunate reality is that this is just the first stage of the process of getting these icons onto your smartphone. It’s likely that we won’t see these emoji in action until September or October, according to the Unicode Consortium’s blog post.
In the meantime, why not make sure you’re up to speed with the previous batch of emoji?