Those who have updated their iPhones to iOS 8.3 have already seen the future: Among the many updates out today is a redesigned emoji keyboard with new and improved (and “diverse”) emoji. Basically, the plot of every Wes Anderson movie just got way easier to recap.
The Apple iOS 8.3 update features redesigned emoji (the dancing girls are now way more Playboy bunny-like) as well as some new additions (like two dozen more flags and an Apple Watch, of course) plus a streamlined interface to more easily select the ones you want. The emoji keyboard now has an infinite scroll that allows you to flick horizontally through all the screens, as well as much better organization through the tabbed icons at the bottom (the hamburger takes you to right to food).
And of course, the feature that’s getting the most attention: You can now choose what color you want to make your emoji heads and hands and characters like the running/walking man. Pressing on a face will present your choice of five natural skin tones in addition to emoji yellow. There are also more politically correct families with two dads and two moms and every possible gender combination for sons and daughters (no single parents and two kids only, please). Although you can’t change the skin tones on those. We Are All Lego People, I guess.
But be careful! If you text these new emoji to a poor soul who hasn’t updated to 8.3 (or heaven forbid, someone without an iPhone at all!) they’ll get a garbled mess filled with face placeholders and poor translations. On the right is what I texted and on the left is what a non-8.3 phone received. Don’t make the same mistake I did, texting people who don’t have iPhones.
Although I have to say it is very strange contemplating exactly what shade of skin to “color” someone, the good news is, now we can text things we’ve never been able to text before.