Apple released the newest beta versions of iOS and OSX to developers this week, and screenshots of the redesigned emoji character set are circulating the web faster than a box of timbits after an early-morning hockey practice.
As predicted in the wake of November's Unicode Consortium report calling for emoji that "reflect more human diversity," iPhone users will finally have access to skin-tone modifiers when Apple's new operating systems roll out later this year.
We'd use a champagne emoji at this point to toast everyone who's been fighting for more racially diverse characters on the keyboard in recent years, but alas -- the "bottle with popping cork" emoji won't be released until mid-2015 either.
Apple's long-petitioned-for inclusion of emojis with varying skin tones in its next update can be marked as a victory for certain (despite some controversy over the character set's yellow base colour) -- but it's not the only notable victory we can celebrate today.
Behold, at long last, the official Canadian flag emoji:
"Japanese carriers originally included a somewhat arbitrary list of 10 country flags in their emoji selections. These have been the standard emoji flags available on most platforms until now," explained emojipedia in a Feb. 23 post. "This emoji update introduces 27 more country flags into its emoji picker."
As we reported in August, the lack of a maple leaf flag on Unicode's emoji keyboard has long been a source of annoyance for Canadian smartphone users.
Prior to this week's iOS and OSX beta release, a search for the term "Canada flag emoji" on Twitter returned mostly tweets about how offended smartphone users were that our country was excluded from the emoji keyboard's flag section.
Now, save for a sprinkling of tweets from users who haven't yet learned the news, most people chatting about the Canadian flag emoji are simply celebrating the fact that we'll soon have one.
Whether or not the new emoji keyboard will be available in time for Canada Day 2015 is still unknown. According to The Next Web, release dates have yet to be announced for iOS 8.3 or OS X 10.10.3.
That said, Apple is reportedly planning a public beta program which will kick off in mid-March.
Fingers crossed! (But not too hard... we'll need our hands to be in good shape when the time comes.)