If you’ve never heard of an “emoji” before, it’s a Japanese word for a singular or group of picture characters, often called emoticons. It’s caught on quickly all over the world as a more visual way to text message emotions and even words. The iPhone has only made emoji more pervasive (my parents even use it!), as users have long been able to enable an international keyboard or free emoji app that lets them use these characters across text messaging and other apps like Twitter. These are all of the emoji icons that are currently available on iPhone:

Fun right? They make texting way more interesting.

When Apple announced iOS 6, it’s new software platform for the iPhone due to debut this fall, they failed to announce one very important thing — all of the new emoji characters! There are dozens, and for the most part, they all rule. (There are a few random goats and monkeys in there… not sure what Apple was thinking on those.) Here they all are:

You’ll also notice that Apple has added icons for same sex relationships. While they can be construed as gay and lesbian couples, I think they can double as BFFs of the same sex. Even though they don’t have expressions (which is random), I feel like these will become some of the more popular emojis used.

There’s also a bride in there, but no groom. Runaway bride? Weduary users, debate amongst yourselves.

Here are a few of my favorite new emoji icons (gotta love the 90s pager!):

Can’t find these in your phone yet? That’s because iOS 6 has only been released to Apple developers thus far. Luckily, I’m one of those (we’re building some rad mobile apps here at Brit + Co.) and so I’ve been able to play with the new features, of which, the new emoji icons are by far the coolest.

If you DO want to check them all out, iEmoji.com has the full set and will even let you tweet or message them across the web. (Note: iEmoji.com is definitely NOT on our list of Best Designed Websites, but in this case, they have the goods.)

What’s even more rad about these new emoji icons is that you won’t need to hack your phone to get them once iOS debuts (currently rumored to come out in September or October). They will be in your phone by default!

Which if these emoji characters are your favorite? Which make you think WTF? We’d love to know your thoughts!

Even better, if you have any creative emoji messages you’ve sent in the past, please send them our way! We’re compiling another post about all the coolest creative ways people have used these awesome character sets.

Shoot your feedback or images to us in the comments below, on Twitter, or shoot a note to hello@brit.co.