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Apple is Spreading Christmas Cheer as it Rolls Out Gender-neutral Santa Emoji

The new emojis will be available with iOS 14.2, evidently in time for holiday 2020. (AFP)

The new emojis will be available with iOS 14.2, evidently in time for holiday 2020. (AFP)

In the meantime, a beta version is already available for developers and a first look has been shared on Twitter.

Ho ho ho, Christmas is coming and Apple is already spreading festive cheer. The tech giant is getting in the holiday mood with a freshly unveiled inclusive Christmas-themed emoji as part of its drive for greater digital diversity. This non-binary emoji, approved by the Unicode Consortium, will roll out with the iOS 14.2 update due in October.

Christmas has come early at Apple. The American firm has unveiled a fresh selection of emojis rolling out to Apple users in the coming weeks. New arrivals include a gender-neutral Santa, landing just in time for the holiday season. In the meantime, a beta version is already available for developers and a first look has been shared on Twitter.

Dubbed "Mx Claus," the emoji represents a gender-inclusive alternative to "Father Christmas" or "Mrs Christmas" with its non-binary appearance. The beard has been ditched but the glasses and red-and-white hat synonymous with "Santa Claus" remain.

Apple appears to be continuing its drive for digital diversity with this latest slew of emojis, which also includes the transgender flag and other inclusive, non-binary additions, such as wedding veil and tuxedo-wearing options, plus a family of caregivers bottle-feeding a baby. Apple has also added an emoji showing two people hugging, as if virtually transcending the social distancing rules of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

The Unicode Consortium approved 117 new emojis earlier this year in the aim of offering a more inclusive selection of options in tune with today's society. The emojis will be available on Google, Twitter and Facebook.


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