GoPro shares dropped 12 percent on Wednesday after Apple received a patent for a mountable camera designed for outdoor sporting equipment.
In its patent filing, Apple cited weaknesses in GoPro’s camera design, such as “excessive wind resistance” and being “susceptible to damage from vibrations.” Similar to GoPro’s cams, Apple’s version will be capable of recording sounds and taking underwater pictures. But it can be controlled via smartwatch.
GoPro has dominated the wearable camera market since its inception in 2002, fending off competition from companies like Sony. However, it’s unclear whether GoPro can become a full-fledged media business. GoPro stock closed at $49.87 after Apple’s announcement, up 73 percent since the company’s June 2014 IPO but down nearly 50 percent from its high of $98.47, according to Recode.
A handful of competitors, including Sony and Polaroid, released high-res wearable cameras at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show. But GoPro should manage to retain its market share, JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna told Bloomberg. “The success of GoPro has inspired quite a bit of imitation, but none of it is overly threatening.”
It’s unclear whether Apple is committed to competing directly with GoPros camera products. It is possible that the patent will be used to develop cameras on preexisting Apple devices.