Update: New Animoji will soon be in your hands. According to The Verge, Apple's upcoming software update, iOS 11.3, will include four new AR-powered, animated emoji: You can become a dragon, a bear, a skull, or a lion. Although Animoji haven't received much hype since their initial release on the iPhone X, their karaoke uses are front and center in one of the most addictive Apple commercials to date.
This article was originally published on October 31, 2017.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, an Animoji is worth as many as you can fit into 10 seconds — and then some. With Apple's new 3D take on the emoji, it isn't just about what you say, it's about how you say it. Do you smirk? Furrow your brow? Purse your lips? Whatever you do, it's going to come across onscreen.
This is the magic of the Animoji characters Apple has crafted on iPhone X, its most expensive smartphone to date. X has a new TrueDepth camera, located in the black notch at the top of the screen, which captures more than 50 facial muscle movements. This technology is used to create corresponding reactions on one of 12 animated emoji onscreen.
For those questioning Animoji's usefulness, consider this: You can say with an Animoji what you might not feel comfortable putting in words or recording yourself saying. Behind the mask of the unicorn (or poop), you can adopt whatever voice or persona you want to get your message across.
Animoji also serve another purpose: Clearing up messaging misinterpretations. It's hard to read tone in a text, but if you can hear the person's voice and "see" their expressions as they convey their message, questions of "what's she really saying?" won't factor in to your response. This is some truly next generation voicemail.