Apple adds diversity to the face of texting

Diverse faces and growing influence of emojis... 04:18

You'll soon be able to say more in text messages, without words. Apple is the first phone maker to add diversity to emojis, amid criticism over a lack of races represented, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.

They're easy to understand, come in all shapes and sizes and are often used to convey an attitude or feeling.

Reacting to a backlash from consumers, Apple has created 300 new emojis, some of which highlight different races and professions.

Youth organization, which started an online petition and Twitter campaign encouraging Apple to make the change, applauded the move.

"You need to see people who look like you in all the forms you're communicating, from content you're consuming on television to the way you communicate on your phone," ‎chief marketing officer Naomi Hirabayashi said. "I think for a lot of minorities, it's nice to think that your voices have been heard and there's real change happening."

Emojis were created in Japan in the 1990s, the advent of smart phones, and younger generations increasingly communicating through text messaging has led to a global surge in use.

"Emoji are popular particularly in mobile communication because it's about a shift towards doing conversational interactive communication over text messaging," University of California Irvine professor Mimi Ito said.

Emojis do what texts can't; they replace the written word with a symbol.

Science guru Bill Nye used emojis to teach evolution, emojis replaced Beyoncé in a version of her hit single "Drunk in Love" and an emoji translation of Hermann Melville's masterpiece was created -- aptly titled "Emoji Dick."

Now millions of people are going beyond the emoji, using personalized avatars called bitmojis to converse.

"There's a lot of emotional nuance that's missing from just text conversation and so we add that nuance. We add that emotion, and we also add you to it that makes it that much more, like personal, visual and fun experience," Bitstrips CEO Jacob Blackstock said.

Celebrities like Seth Rogan and Brittany Snow and musician Questlove have created their own.

Even the emoji crazy journalists here at "CBS This Morning" are bitmoji fans.

And for those wondering where the emoji craze will go? Remember, it's just in it's infancy.

"Once you see emoji percolating to more and more demographics, not just in this country but in other parts of the world, we're likely to see some interesting new ways and communicating with them that may be unexpected," Ito said.

Watch out kids, parents are glomming on to the emoji craze, increasingly using the symbols to communicate with -- and like -- their children.

But not all the news is positive. Some are already criticizing some of the new emojis, especially the yellow ones, with tweets questioning "whether Apple thinks Asian people have jaundice."