Earlier this week, Apple was granted a patent for an action-sports camera design. The patent was originally filed back in 2012. While patents don’t guarantee products will make it to reality, here’s what we know about the Apple 'camera' so far.
According to PatentlyApple, this patent includes intellectual property acquired from Kodak in 2013. It’s likely that if the product does come into being, it won’t look like the product pictured in original patent. Instead, it may adapt the technology to something more ‘Apple-esque’. Or perhaps we’ll see some of these design elements merged into a phone?
The patent specifically mentions of weaknesses in GoPro’s design (the older HERO 2). One of which is its tall profile. Considering this, the Apple Camera will likely have a flatter profile, more in line with cameras from Garmin and Shimano. The patent makes specific reference to being streamlined for use on a bicycle.
While it may have been innovative in 2012, the patent notes many features that already exist in the market today. Where Apple has proven itself though, is in usability and simplified functions. This may be seen with the connectivity and control through a wireless wrist band that's a main part of the patent.
An action camera that seamlessly integrates with a smart-watch seems like a great step forward (albeit an expensive one)
Given Apple is soon to release its Watch, we suspect this will be the wearable device that communicates with the camera. Much like the watch will allow advanced control of an iPhone camera, we also suspect the same level of integrated connectivity to be available with the camera.
Contacted by BikeRadar, Apple spokeswoman Elisa Hickey declined to comment about the camera, only saying: "We haven’t made any announcements."
According to the patent, a single optical axis will be given for recording with two 'tripod screw sockets' provided to capture landscape or portrait orientation images.
A drawing from the patent in question
The patent also shows such features as a playback screen, numerous button controls, a play-back speaker and two microphones – one for open air sound recording and the other for underwater. Given Apple’s success with touchscreen technology, it’s likely that the button layout shown in this patent won't appear on any finished product.
Connectivity is likely to be available through both Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi. The latter could potentially offer a reasonably fast cable-free upload to a computer.
Apple traditionally has announced its new products at keynote speeches, so if the Apple Action Camera does exist, it’ll no doubt be confirmed first at one of these events.
The action cam market is a crowded one, and while GoPro has an ultimately strong foothold (with Sony a distant second), Apple’s camera could be the biggest threat yet to the POV king if it becomes a reality.