Earlier today, Apple released the second developer beta of iOS and iPadOS 14.5, which includes new emoji. The latest additions, which include 217 emoji when you account for skin tone and other variations, have been cataloged by Jeremy Burge at Emojipedia.
A few of the 200 couples emoji variations. Source: Emojipedia.org
Highlights include couples, with expanded skin tone options that account for 200 of the new emoji. The remaining additions include three new smileys: Exhaling Face, Face with Spiral Eyes, and Face in Clouds, two new heart variants, and gender options for Bearded Person. Apple has also revised the syringe emoji so that it doesn’t include blood, making it useful in a wider range of circumstances, and the headphones emoji so it looks like a pair of AirPods Max.
If you’re wondering why we’re seeing new emoji so soon, don’t miss Burge’s post from last summer explaining the Unicode Consortium’s new emoji approval schedule. The new emoji will be part of Apple’s next round of operating system updates, which the company has said will be available this ‘spring.’
Some of the most interesting features of the latest Big Sur beta are in Safari. As I wrote in my Big Sur review, I like most of the changes made to Safari’s start page but wished I could reorder the default sections. That’s now possible, which is terrific, but there’s also a new third-party extension point for developers to build start page integrations, which is very interesting. We’ll have to see what developers do with the new feature, but I expect it will allow RSS clients to list recent articles on the start page that could be opened directly in Safari, for example. There’s a new Web Speech API that allows speech recognition functionality to be built into a webpage too.
Music’s new Made for You tab
Similar to iOS and iPadOS, Reminders is gaining the option to print lists. Music adds a dedicated ‘Made For You’ section in the sidebar that includes your annual Replay playlists and Apple’s personalized algorithmic playlists. The Listen Now tab will also suggest upcoming live events tuned to your music tastes. There’s an enhanced News+ tab in Apple News designed to make it easier to access magazines and newspapers and manage downloaded issues. Sony PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X/S controllers are supported too.
The News+ tab has been redesigned.
Finally, the experience of using iOS and iPadOS apps on the Mac got a boost too. There’s a brand new Preference pane in iPhone and iPads running on an M1 Mac that provides more keyboard control over touch commands. Apps can also be opened in larger windows.
Big Sur is a big deal. The OS picks up where Catalina left off, further rationalizing Apple’s product lineup through design, new ways to bring apps to the Mac, and updates to existing system apps. The approach realigns functionality across Apple’s platforms after years of divergence from their common foundation: Mac OS X. The result is an OS that walks a perilous line between breaking with the past and honoring it, acknowledging the ways computing has changed while aiming for a bold future.
macOS, which OS X has been called since 2016, is a mature operating system, so more often than not its annual updates are incremental affairs that don’t turn many heads. Big Sur is different. It’s an update that promises a future that’s connected to its past yet acknowledges today’s mobile-first computing landscape and harmonizing user experiences across devices.
Big Sur also clarifies Apple’s Mac strategy, the contours of which began to emerge with Catalina. It’s a vision of a continuum of computing devices that offer a consistent, familiar environment no matter which you choose while remaining true to what makes them unique. In practical terms, that means a carefully coordinated design language and a greater emphasis on feature parity across OSes. Conceptually, it’s also an opportunity for macOS to shed the perception that it’s a legacy OS overshadowed by iOS and reclaim a meaningful place in Apple’s lineup for years to come.
Together, the changes to macOS set the table for Apple’s M1 Macs, the next big step in the Mac’s modernization, and easily earn Big Sur its designation of version 11.0.
It’s become something of a tradition for Apple to include new emoji in one of the early point releases to a major iOS and iPadOS release. Like last year, the new emoji are coming in the second major update to iOS and iPadOS. This year, though, the new emoji look like they will make it into the first released version of macOS Big Sur because they are included in beta 9 of macOS too.
In July, Apple shared some of the designs for its emoji based on the Unicode Consortium’s specifications for Unicode 13.0. Today, as detailed by Emojipedia, iOS and iPadOS 14.2, beta 2 were released and include Apple’s full set of upcoming emoji. There are 66 in total, not counting every possible variant.
Designs not revealed by Apple earlier this summer include:
Smiling Face with Tear
Gender variations for people wearing a tuxedo and veil
Developers, who can access betas of Apple’s OS releases before the general public, received the first developer betas on June 22nd, the first day of WWDC and a second version earlier this week. If past practice is a guide, the public beta released today should be identical to the second developer beta released on Tuesday.
If you would like to sign up but haven’t, visit beta.apple.com and log in using your Apple ID. It should go without saying that you should only install betas on your devices after you’ve taken appropriate steps to protect your data and are willing to endure potentially buggy software.
For more on what’s in the betas check out our full overviews of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14, which are terrific overviews that we published during WWDC.
Stay tuned for more over the summer too. The MacStories team is working on special preview stories that cover a wide range of features in the public betas as we approach the publication of our annual OS reviews this fall. Federico and I will also be doing some special interview episodes of AppStories this summer to dig deeper into what the new OSes will mean to MacStories readers and the apps they love.
Update: An earlier version of this story stated that the macOS Big Sur and watchOS 7 public betas have been released too, which was incorrect. We expect macOS Big Sur and watchOS 7 to be released soon, but they are not yet available.