Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities
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Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities

Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities

Apple has requested the addition of 13 inclusive emojis, including prosthetic limbs, guide dogs and a hearing aid, to better represent people with disabilities.

The company submitted the series of emojis on 23 March to the Unicode Consortium, the organisation that reviews requests for new emoji characters.

If approved by the Unicode Consortium the new characters will be included in the Emoji 12.0 update in 2019, according to Emojipedia.

Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities
This emoji represents the "deaf sign" in sign language

Designed to create an "inclusive experience" for its users, Apple has designed symbols depicting wheelchair-users, and visually impaired people using support canes.

Other planned icons include two different types of guide dog, a prosthetic arm and leg, and an ear with a hearing aid.

A prosthetic arm and leg are included in the proposal from Apple

The company worked with international organisations such as the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf to develop the designs.

"One in seven people around the world has some form of disability," said Apple in the submission.

"The current selection of emoji provides a wide array of representations of people, activities, and objects meaningful to the general public, but very few speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities."

"At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs. Adding emoji emblematic to users' life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability," it added.

A guide dog with a harness is one of the 13 new emojis proposed by Apple

The firm believes that these new icons will provide more options to represent people with disabilities, but states that the emojis are not meant as a comprehensive list.

"Every individual's experience with their disability is unique and, therefore, the representations have unlimited possibilities. It would be impossible to cover every possible use case with a limited set of characters," Apple explained.

Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities
Apple proposes adding two types of emoji wheelchair

Unicode, whose other members include the likes of Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix, decides what emojis should be used and what they should represent, with members deciding what the design looks like on each of their operating systems.

Apple's last update, in July 2017, saw the company release 52 new icons, including a zombie, sandwich, elf and a woman wearing a headscarf.

Images courtesy of Apple and Unicode Consortium.