When entering the Japanese market in 2008, one key area of focus was Apple's emoji support on the newly released iPhone 3G.
This emoji support came in the form of a software update known as iPhone OS 2.2 (iPhone OS is what is now known as iOS) that was released globally, although the emoji keyboard was restricted to the Japanese market only.
At the time emoji support was first implemented, This was done in a way that was compatible with SoftBank (Apple's iPhone release partner in Japan), but emoji support had yet to come to Unicode, which would make the characters universally interchangeable between devices, carriers and software platforms for the first time. 
Originally containing 471 emojis too
Previously: Former Apple Internally Looks Back at Designing First Apple Emoji in 2008, Apple Color Emoji.
See also: Swift Tricks: Emoji Flags. .
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