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Apple's iOS 13.2 introduces more inclusive emoji, privacy features and camera tools

Posted at 7:46 AM, Oct 29, 2019

After previewing new emoji this summer, Apple released nearly 60 new characters on Monday, many with a focus on inclusion and diversity.

The iOS 13.2 software update features interracial couples, gender-neutral characters and disability-themed emoji options, including a seeing eye dog, characters in wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. Other new emoji include a waffle, butter, a sloth and a yawning smiley face.

In recent years, Apple has been on a push to offer more diverse emoji, such as different skin tones, occupations and flags. In March 2018, the tech giant requested more emoji that were inclusive of disability in a proposal sent to the Unicode Consortium — the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for emojis.

"Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities," Apple wrote at the time. "Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all."

The iPhone maker said it had consulted with top organizations for people with disabilities when submitting the proposal.

Beyond emoji, iOS 13.2 adds a "deep fusion" camera mode to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro -- a tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve image quality. iOS 13.2 also features optional Siri recording, allowing users to better control whether to share audio recordings with Apple developers.

In addition, the latest software features HomePod voice support for up to six different voices and compatibility for AirPods Pro, the high-end version of Apple's popular wireless earbuds unveiled on Monday.

The company launched iOS 13 in September, but it's been buggy and has since issued updates.