Users of the Apple iPhone and iPad got a new palate of emoji on Wednesday, including a group of alternative or gay family illustrations. The new emoji appeared on an update to Apple’s mobile operating software, iOS 8.3, which was rolled out on Wednesday. Some test versions of the software had been in use since February.
Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.
Apple CEO Tim Cook
The new emoji include illustrations of families with families that include two male parents or two female parents. The updated emojis also include characters of various races, as previously announced by the Unicode Consortium which sets international rules for text and characters to insure consistency across platforms.