Apple demonstrated a new type of emoji today at its press event unveiling the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
The iPhone X includes a new facial camera system that allows for practical applications like unlocking your phone (and payments) with your face. It’s also used for something that looks fun and maybe a little creepy — it can track your facial expressions and use them to animate your favorite emojis.
The existence of animoji was leaked last week, but the stories couldn’t capture the experience of watching Apple’s Craig Federighi on stage, contorting his face to animate fox and poo emojis — or seeing an alien version of CEO Tim Cook commanding him, “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER.”
You can also record an audio message to go with your animoji, whose movements will be synced with the sound. For some reason, the first demo of this technology involved an emoji whispering, “Where are you??”
Federighi explained that the goal of animoji is to “breathe our own personality” into our favorite emojis. And while the demo was a little odd, this does seem like a nice way to add a personal touch to your messages, especially if there are a handful of emojis that you use so frequently that your friends are getting sick of them. (For me, it’s ?.)