By Tom Paye
New characters include tacos, a unicorn, and a controversial 'middle finger'
Apple is set to debut a new set of emoji characters when it ships the latest version of its iOS operating system.
iOS 9.1 is expected to hit consumer handsets in November, and along with all of the big software updates like a new Notes app, improved Maps and updated Mail, it appears that users will also be treated to a cluster of new emojis.
Included in the new sets are tacos, crabs, squirrels and even a unicorn. According to reports, the Animals & Nature and Objects sets have seen the biggest updates. However, another big release is the controversial ‘middle finger' emoji.
That emoji is already available on Windows 10. And indeed, it was approved by Apple more than a year ago as part of Unicode 7. However, it has taken all this time for Apple to go ahead with the inclusion of the emoji on a consumer-facing OS.
That said, users in the UAE should be warned about this new emoji. Earlier this year, a Dubai Police official warned smartphone owners against using the symbol, given that physical use of the middle finger is illegal across the Emirates, carrying penalties of up to three years in prison and AED 500,000 in fines.
"Sending a middle finger emoji on a smartphone or even sending a middle finger picture through email can put you in trouble," said criminal defence lawyer Abdullah Yousef Al Nasir.