Apple Camera Patent Won’t Compete Against GoPro
On Tuesday, Apple Inc announced they had been granted a patent for a wearable camera, one that might challenge the cameras made by GoPro. Apple made the announcement on its intellectual property blog Patently Apple and reported that it would incorporate intellectual property from Eastman Kodak Co, a company Apple acquired in November 2013. The patent was originally acquired by Kodak and shortly thereafter sold to Apple.
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GoPro vs. Apple?
Since GoPro’s IPO in June, shareholders have experience a high level of volatility. Stock prices have rocketed and crashed with rumors, and yesterday was no different. Stock prices fell as much as 15% as investors showed concerns as to whether GoPro could defend the action camera against such a powerful technology company like Apple.
While Apple has purchased the U.S. Patent (No. 8,934,045), it’s not clear if Apple intends to enter the marketing of action cameras. Apple files or obtains hundreds of patents each year, many of which are not used. As Forbes noted, GoPro reported nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2013 while Apple reported about $174 in sales in the same period. GoPro clearly dominates its market, and it’s doubtful splitting the marketing would be profitable for Apple after advertising and branding.
Furthermore, Apple Insider suggests the patent was misreported and does not mean Apple is after GoPro’s market. The patent is for a “digital camera system having remote control” and details a digital camera accompanied by a wrist-worn remote control as well as underwater capabilities, stabilizing technology and mounting options. Apple Insider goes on to suggest that if Apple were to seriously consider moving into the action camera market, the patent would “almost assuredly come from within” Apple.
Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter seems to agree and further speculates that Apple may have plans to improve the functionality of the built-in cameras on the IPhones.
I don’t think these patents imply that they’ll issue a standalone device. Rather they’re going to figure out a way to bolt a phone to your head or put it at the end of the stick and the patents are for the remote control and how it works for the camera. There’s nothing in there that’s earth-shattering or tells me I’d rather use my phone than a GoPro camera. – Michael Pachter
Despite the doubts that Apple will go after the action camera market, GoPro shares dropped significantly. This goes to show you the power and sway the company has over the market and its competitors, as seen at the CES 2015.
Images from GoPro and Apple.