If you like emoji, you're in luck: there are a slew more heading your way. Apple's releasing its iOS 11.1 operating system for iPhones and iPads, and quite a few cute (albeit not particularly useful) ones are being added to our repertoires.
Now, if you don't think these emojis will be particularly useful, don't blame our friends in Cupertino; Apple doesn't technically create new emoji standards. They're determined by the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit. Once the Consortium develops new standards, though, it's up to individual tech firms like Apple, Microsoft, and Google to create their own interpretations of each visual. Technically the latest version of Unicode, 10.0, was released this past June, and each tech firm decides when they want to implement the latest standard.
iOS 11.1 will also include characters that were announced on World Emoji Day - a real "holiday" that occurs every July 17th - such as Bearded Person, Zombie, and Person in Lotus Position. The new emojis also include food items such as Sandwich and Coconut. Another helpful emoji included as part of the update is the Love-You Gesture, which is designed after American Sign Language's "I love you" hand sign.
Do the latest emoji releases say anything about the world we live in? Possibly. After all, one of the biggest advancements includes gender-neutral options that possess more androgynous facial features and hairstyles. There's also a breastfeeding emoji, which represents a move in our society to accept the act as one of the most natural things in the world, as opposed to something that has to be hidden away. There's also a woman in a headscarf, making for more inclusive representation from a religious perspective.
At the same time, it's really hard to read too much into what was selected and what was left for the future. While rock-climbing is somewhat en vogue, another new sport being represented is curling, which hasn't seen a recent surge in popularity. And while a Chinese take-out box is a food emoji plenty of us could use, it's hard to see why we really needed broccoli.
These new emojis will first be seen in the developer and public beta previews of iOS 11.1, rolling out now. Pretty soon, these will be available in the next software updates for iOS, macOS and watchOS.