Apple Proposes New Emoji to Represent People with Disabilities

New images could be available as soon as next year for iPhones, Androids and computers if approved by Unicode Consortium

Apple has worked alongside the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf to create 13 potential emoji that will better represent people with disabilities.

Among the new emoji are a Seeing Eye dog, people in wheelchairs, and ears with hearing aids. The images of people reportedly will have an option to change skin tones.

In a proposal to the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that signs off on any new emoji, Apple wrote, “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities.”

The company continued, “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

If approved, the emoji will be available in the first half of 2019 for people to use on iPhones, Androids and their computers.

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Now let’s drill down into this a bit more. First off, Unicode Consortium sounds like an evil company a villain would own in a science fiction film.

Second, it’s great to see Apple trying to diversify and represent more people, but it’s hard to tell how these proposed emojis will be used in conversation.

Considering the level of conversations happening currently with emojis, it seems as if these might mainly provide ample opportunity for people to make light of disabilities or even mock them.

Then again, maybe we should trust the decision our overlords at the Unicode Consortium come up with — because that is a name that demands authority.

PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter

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