Apple has been granted patents that suggest the Cupertino company could enter the action cam market to take on companies such as GoPro. And why not? Apple has repeatedly proved its camera prowess with the iPhone, and with the action cam scene more popular than ever, perhaps the company sees an opportunity for growth. Of course, patents are never definitive proof of future products, as Apple has seemingly been interested in standalone cameras before.
It’s unclear how Apple’s device would differ from your average GoPro. The patent tries to identify specific weaknesses with GoPro’s cameras, citing the inability to easily mount to surfaces like bike helmets or surfboards. But the action cam company actually offers a ton of solid accessories that address this very weakness. There are no shortage of bike mounts, suction cups and waterproof cases to protect the GoPro from harm during use.
I’m not seeing the difference between the current crop of GoPro devices and what Apple discusses in its patent, but here’s a take from Patently Apple:
The patent notes that the new camera system could be secured to various objects, such as a bike helmet or scuba mask, or mounted to the handlebars of a motorcycle or the front of a surfboard. The new camera system also notes that an iPhone (smartphone) could be used under water to take pictures and record sounds in a water environment.
The design might be the biggest differentiator for Apple’s GoPro competitor, focusing on aerodynamics and greater durability, along with the ability to easily record audio. Otherwise, the patent merely grants Apple a system that includes “an image capture module” and a “remote control module.” Nothing here that sounds like it’ll change the action camera market.
The patent was filed back in Q1 2012, and incorporates Kodak patents Apple acquired a couple years ago. That either means something or nothing at all. Apple hasn’t really built up an image that fits all that well with the action camera market, but its iPhone is consistently used for photography, so perhaps the company just wants to explore other opportunities.
Apple may or may not enter the market, but Wall Street is definitely taking notice. Shares of GoPro, which went public last year, are down about 14 percent.