The Unicode Consortium announced last week that it was pushing the release of Unicode 14 back by six months. Now instead of a new batch of emoji coming out in 2021, we won’t see the new ones until 2022. The reason is — you guessed it — COVID-19.
Specifically, the Consortium is delaying the release of Unicode Standard Version 14.0, which would include a new batch of emoji characters. Mark Davis, President of the Consortium, said in a statement that attempting to adhere to the original schedule would put a strain on the Consortium’s volunteers: “Under the current circumstances we’ve heard that our contributors have a lot on their plates at the moment and decided it was in the best interests of our volunteers and the organizations that depend on the standard to push out our release date. This year we simply can’t commit to the same schedule we’ve adhered to in the past.” One assumes “current circumstances” can only refer to the coronavirus pandemic.
This won’t effect the rollout of Unicode 13.0’s emoji — the Consortium made Unicode Standard Version 13.0 available in March and the emoji are expected to be adopted later this year. In case you haven’t seen them, this update would such delights as the trans flag, bubble tea, a mothereffing ninja and what appears to be a Groucho Marx face. This is also the update that adds more gender-inclusive designs. Those emoji are still on track to roll out. As Unicode said in its announcement, those emoji were finalized in January.
Granted, we don’t yet know what emoji Unicode 14.0 would include, but that’s the fun part: finding out what new little symbols you’re going to get and trying to find some way to work them into conversation for the next month. Unicode also announced: “With the delay of the release of Unicode 14.0, the deadline for submission of new emoji character proposals for Emoji 14.0 is also being postponed until September 2020.” Submissions will open in June.
The emoji from Unicode 13.0 might be included in Apple’s release of iOS 14, which is expected to roll out this fall.