Did Apple Make a GoPro Killer?
GoPro shares dropped 12 percent on Jan. 12 following the announcement that Apple had received patent approval for mountable video-recording technology.
According to Patently Apple, a blog focused on covering Apple’s Intellectual Property news, the company was granted a total of 34 new patents on Jan. 12, but it was the wording and two specific elements of one of those patents that sent GoPro’s stock tumbling.
GoPro stock closed at $49.87 on Jan. 12, up 73 percent from the June IPO, but down almost 50 percent from its October high of $98.47.
The specific patent of concern is one that Apple acquired from Kodak in 2012. In the patent, Apple cites two important components of their proposed technology: an image-capture module and a remote-control module, and with the Apple Watch launching sometime this year, some GoPro investors worry the tech behemoth could be elbowing in on the market.
These fears were further underlined by specific references to GoPro camera weaknesses in Apple’s approved patent, namely GoPro’s “excessive wind resistance” and being “susceptible to damage from vibrations.” This calling-out may have been what, ultimately, sent a chill down some GoPro investors’ spines.
Others, however, remain confident in GoPro’s hold on the action-camera niche.
GoPro’s reported billion-dollar revenue for 2013 was far and away the best in that space (Apple claimed $174 billion in the same frame), and though the market is rapidly expanding, many are optimistic about the extreme-action camera maker’s pivot into a full-fledged media company.
GoPro makes a notable move to live TV network events with the debut of a new HD transmitter at this month’s X Games in Aspen, and licensing and hosting deals with Xbox, Virgin America and other companies are already in place. GoPro’s official YouTube channel boasts over 2.6 million subscribers and the total minutes watched has risen over 270% from this time last year, so the question for GoPro is still in figuring out how to fully monetize their content and audience.
The question then for Apple’s alleged GoPro-killer: Who wants to strap their iPhone to their head before they jump out of an airplane?
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