Emojis with wheelchairs, white canes, and various other disabilities may soon be coming to your iPhone: Apple has proposed a suite of 13 new emojis “to better represent individuals with disabilities.”
“Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” Apple wrote in its proposal to the Unicode Consortium, which governs the introduction of new emojis. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”
In its proposal, Apple also noted that the emoji were developed with input from American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf, and emphasized, “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.”
Anyone can propose new emojis — last year, a 15-year-old proposed a headscarf emoji. Each proposal wends its way through layers of committees before making it to your phone, and not all proposals are approved. Apple's has been accepted by the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee and will now move on to the next step, discussion and review by the Unicode Technical Committee. The UTC's next meeting is slated for April 3–5.
Here are Apple's 13 proposed emojis:
Ear with hearing aid:
Guide dog with harness:
Guide dog with leash and vest: