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(Credit: Apple)

Can't quite find the right emoji to express your feelings in your iPhone text messages? No worries. The first major update to iOS 12 promises a host of new ones. Currently available for developers and public beta testers, iOS 12.1 introduces more than 70 new emoji ranging across a variety of subjects.

Included in the mix are emoji for animals such as mosquitos and kangaroos, food such as mangoes and cupcakes, and sports items such as a frisbee and a softball, according to Apple. But the update also kicks in lots of new people and faces, including a partying face, a woozy face, bald men and women, superheroes, and even supervillains.

SEE: Google's emoji designer reveals how emoji are created

On the surface, Apple's focus on emoji may sound frivolous. But emoji provide a way for us to express ourselves--and do it concisely, which can speed up communication. As such, Apple is adding more emoji faces of different skin tones, hairstyles, and other features in an attempt to be more inclusive. Some of the new emoji also reflect items relevant to specific countries and different populations across the planet.

"Emoji are used by people all over the world to communicate," Apple said. "iOS 12.1 brings even more characters to the keyboard that better represent global users, including new emoji for moon cake, red gift envelope and nazar amulet."

Apple created the new emoji based on those approved in Unicode 11.0, which outlines the emoji characters to be used. Apple said that it's working with the Unicode Consortium to add more disability-themed emoji for Unicode 12.0, scheduled for release in 2019.

Beyond their current availability in the developer and public beta previews of iOS 12.1, the new emoji will pop up in upcoming updates for iOS, macOS, and watchOS, Apple added.

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Takeaways

  1. iOS 12.1 promises more than 70 new emoji, including food, animals, and sports items.
  2. The first beta of iOS 12.1 is available for both developers and public beta testers.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."