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Animoji uses the TrueDepth camera system on the iPhone X to analyse more than 50 different muscle movements to mimic facial expressions virtually. Apple

Apple on Tuesday unveiled the highly anticipated iPhone X with a list of iconic developments that includes an edge-to-edge OLED Super Retina display, Face ID protection, stainless steel build and vertically placed dual-camera setup. But there is one elite feature that makes the new iPhone a distinct and advanced communication device. It is Animoji that upgrades the existing emoji family and enables animations based on your facial expressions.

Animoji uses the TrueDepth camera system on the iPhone X to analyse more than 50 different muscle movements to mimic facial expressions virtually. The feature comes preloaded with iOS 11, albeit exclusive to the most superior iPhone in the series.

"Many of us like to communicate with emoji, and with Animoji, we can now breathe our own personality into our favourites," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, during his presentation at the iPhone X launch at Steve Jobs Theatre.

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Apple has brought as many as 12 different Animoji characters to begin the action. There are models such as a cat, dog, monkey, unicorn and even a pile of poop that mirror your facial expressions and voice to add some fun to your conversations. These characters are available within the default Messages app just like emojis and GIFs. Notably, the iPhone maker isn't in favour of enabling the animated characters on any third-party apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook's Messenger to make the experience limited to iPhone X users. This explicitly means that an Animoji character will require you to spend a US$1,000 on the iPhone X.

Futuristic approach

That being said, the arrival of Animoji brings the future of emoji that was originated on Japanese handsets in the late 1990s and lately gained immense popularity through their strong presence on iOS. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries even named emoji the Word of the year to give focus to the newest form of electronic communication.

It is quite certain that Apple's Animoji will not reach mainstream sometime in the near future, as it would help the company promote its iPhone X. But it is presumable that developers would start considering animated characters as a vital part of their messaging apps. Companies like Facebook, which is widely adopting augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), would even develop similar experiences soon to take on the latest attempt by Apple.