Apple Submits New Accessibility Emojis to Unicode Consortium

Apple today submitted a new proposal [PDF] to the Unicode Consortium, suggesting the committee introduce a series of accessibility emojis in future Unicode releases.

As outlined by Emojipedia, Apple has suggested emojis that include a guide dog, a hearing aid, a prosthetic arm and leg, sign language, a person in a wheelchair, and a person with a cane. Apple's full list of proposed emojis can be seen in its proposal document.

appleemojiproposal

Image via Emojipedia

In its proposal, Apple says it is aiming to better represent individuals with disabilities to provide a more inclusive experience for all. Apple also says this is not an exhaustive list of "all possible depictions of disabilities," but is rather designed to be "an initial starting point."

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. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one's own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one.

This new set of emoji that we are proposing aims to provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities, but to provide an initial starting point for greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe.

To create the emoji suggestions, Apple teamed up with the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf. Its initial proposal focused on people in four categories: Blind and Low Vision, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Physical Motor, and Hidden Disabilities.

Apple says its proposal is a "significant step forward in representing more diverse individuals," and that the company hopes it will "spark a global dialogue around better representation for people with disabilities."

Apple is well-known for its dedicated work on making its products accessible to all users, with a suite of Accessibility features built into all of its iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more. Apple maintains a dedicated Accessibility section on its website where it shares details on available Accessibility features and stories of people who have improved their lives with Apple products.

The Unicode Consortium has already finalized the Emoji 11.0 characters that will be adopted by smartphone companies later this year, but Apple's proposed characters could be added to Emoji 12.0, set to be released in 2019.

Top Rated Comments

CarlJ Avatar
35 months ago

The same question was asked when Apple created emojis of people of color. The answer is yes.

While I agree with you, now that we're going down this road, I was happier when Emojis were a non-representational bright yellow. Rather than "emojis for every skin color" we should have stuck with "emojis that aren't any skin color" and things would have been so much simpler. The direction this is headed next is going to be "well, my eye color / hair style / height isn't represented, we must fix that!" They weren't supposed to be portraiture, they were supposed to be indicators of emotions. Sigh.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Coleman2010 Avatar
35 months ago

... but is this really genuinely needed or something thats been demanded?

Are users with needs for accessibility wanting emojis related to them?

I'm curious, not just asking rhetorically.

The same question was asked when Apple created emojis of people of color. The answer is yes.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JohnApples Avatar
35 months ago
Oh great. Another emoji article, which means another round of complaining and *hilarious* sarcastic jokes.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
35 months ago
“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.

I guess it’s because I imagine some strange cathedral surrounded by magnificent gates, glorious and older than time itself. You enter the hall with trepidation and penitence, footsteps echoing and bouncing off the great pillars. In the distance on the farthest wall looms a large circular mosaic-glass, dingy from eons of neglect, casting a muddied veneer on the floor of the hallowed hall.

What little light there is scarcely reveals the shadow of twelve large oaken chairs, arranged in a half-moon around the presentation altar.

In each chair sits an imposing cloaked figure, the Emoji Elder, one more ancient than the other, who cast their unwavering judgement on which Emoji shall come to pass and which shall be cast into the smouldering pit of fire.

...but maybe that’s just me.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
35 months ago

“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.

The thing of it is, many people know of the Unicode Consortium only in relation to Emoji's, but, while highly visible, that's pretty much the least important part of their work. They are the reason we have a single standard character set that works for every language, rather than the code page hell that was the 80's/90's. They are the reason you can exchange documents written in multiple languages between machines all over the world without getting complete gibberish on the receiving end. Emoji are just a tiny sideshow, but, sadly, they get all the press because people like cute little pictures, and news providers know articles on Emoji get tons of pageviews and comments.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
konqerror Avatar
35 months ago

In 20 years, we all will talk in a new Emoji language. No English needed.

They have that. It's called Chinese.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

maxresdefault

Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

Monday November 30, 2020 3:10 am PST by
Apple has been slapped with a 10 million euro ($12 million) fine by Italy's antitrust watchdog for unfair commercial practices related to its iPhone marketing in the country. One of the Apple ads cited in the Italian watchdog's proceedings (credit: setteBIT) Specifically, Apple is being charged for misleading claims in promotional messages about how deep and how long iPhones can be submerged...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature

Apple Cyber Monday 2020: Discounts on iPads, Macs, AirPods, and More [Updated]

Monday November 30, 2020 6:25 am PST by
Today is Cyber Monday, a shopping event that sees many of the same deals from Black Friday bleed over into a new week, along with a few brand new offers on everything from Apple products to related accessories. In this post we'll highlight the best online discounts that you can find on Apple devices today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
Top Stories 38 Feature

Top Stories: Black Friday Deals, Redesigned MacBooks, Hands-On With Apple's M1 Macs

Saturday November 28, 2020 6:00 am PST by
With Apple's holiday hardware lineup seemingly all set, attention this week turned to the shopping end of things with Apple and other retailers rolling out their Black Friday deals. That wasn't the only news this week, however, as we've continued to learn more about Apple's new M1-based Macs and we've even heard some fresh rumors about redesigned Mac notebooks coming next year, so read on...
16 inch MBP Mini Led

Mini-LED M1 MacBook Pro and Mini-LED iPad Pro Models Coming First Half of 2021

Monday November 30, 2020 2:24 am PST by
Apple is widely reported to be embracing mini-LED display backlighting technology for some products next year, and a new report today by DigiTimes has named several of Apple's partners in the supply chain that are expected to benefit from the switch. According to the report, Apple is set to launch its first mini-LED iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2021 and mass produce mini-LED MacBook Pro...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
iphone 12 colors

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last month in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 are ...
ipadairdesign

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...