Snapchat and Instagram appeared to respond to Apple’s announcement of an updated emoji service by separately revealing updates to their respective apps’ picture effects within a day of the US vendor’s move.
Apple unveiled its Animoji feature as part of the announcement of its high-end iPhone X smartphone. The service enables users to scan their facial expressions using the device’s front facing camera, and mimic their countenance in the form of an animated emoji.
The facility is available as an iMessage app which will be pre-installed on iPhone X. Users will have a choice of more than 50 interactive emojis including a chicken, unicorn and fox, which can relay voice messages to recipients.
Instagram responded by announcing the rollout of a new face filter offering a wider range of options for animating selfies, which it said users can share via its Stories service or Instagram Direct. The service is compatible with version 10.21 and higher of the app, and is available from App Store and Google Play.
Snapchat’s service is a little closer to the Apple feature, though focused on virtual avatars rather than the device maker’s broader animations.
The app company integrated its existing Lenses camera effects with Bitmoji, the avatar service of customisable emoji company Bitstrips, which Snapchat acquired for around $100 million in early 2016.
Snapchat pushed the facility live on Wednesday – the day after Apple’s launch event – allowing users to place a personalised 3D avatar into real world settings, Business Insider reported.
In March, Snapchat parent Snap introduced a new Bitmoji shortcut as part of a broader move to stave off growing competition.