WhatsApp has released its own series of emoji which will replace the Apple-designed images that were previously used across all versions of the online messaging platform.
This is the first time WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned company, has released its own set of self-designed emoji, having used Apple’s icons in the past.
Many internet users were quick to point out how similar the new emoji are to Apple’s designs. In a side-by-side comparison of the original Apple designs and the new WhatsApp emoji, some netizens said it was hard to tell the difference between the two.
Based on images seen of the new designs, there have been some minor tweaks to the colour, shape or positioning of the illustrations in the new WhatsApp emoji, compared to the original Apple designs.
The new set of emoji were released on Monday in the United States, but are currently only available to registered beta-testers of WhatsApp’s Android app.
The new designs are expected to be gradually rolled out across all platforms, and it’s possible that some icons might be changed again before being launched to the public.
Christine Ling, 13, from German Swiss International School, said she enjoys using emoji to communicate online, and welcomed the new designs.
“The new emoji are relatively similar to the existing Apple emoji,” she said. “WhatsApp has been known to use Apple emoji, even on Android devices. Even though the change is still relatively subtle, I think it is a great step up for WhatsApp.”
But Oona Ngai, 16, from Victoria Shanghai Academy, was not excited about the new releases.
“I think new emoji won’t last in the public eye for too long,” she said. “This will receive less attention after a short period of time as it is not worth the hype.”
Emoji are a popular method of communicating across the internet, but many different operating systems and applications use different illustrations to represent the same emotion, action or object.