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Apple's emoji characters may soon show more ethnic diversity, report says

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According to a report released on Tuesday, Apple is planning to update the emoji characters used in iOS and OS X soft keyboards with a new, more diverse selection of characters.

Emojis, first introduced in Japan as an alternative to text-based emoticons, have become ubiquitous in messaging as the icons can quickly convey feelings with a picture instead of words. Of the large number of human characters available, MTV Act wondered why most were clearly of caucasian decent.

The publication wrote directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and today received a reply from Apple representative Katie Cotton.

Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. 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.

While Apple's current list of emojis consists of various smiley faces, foods, plants and symbols, some are concerned at the distinct lack of diversity when it comes to ethnicities. There are a few generic representations, like Chinese, Indians and Russians, but other races have yet to make their way to the platform.

As noted by The Verge, Apple's last update to its emoji character set brought same-sex couples and families into the fold as part of iOS 6.