Apple’s patent seems designed to improve on GoPro’s remote controllable cameras, which are specifically mentioned in the filing.
GoPro’s HD HERO2 camera causes “excessive wind resistance and presents a high profile that is more susceptible to damage,” according to the patent filing.
Apple’s patent describes a camera that is more streamlined to avoid this kind of resistance, and that works both when held by the user and when mounted on another object like a surfboard or a bike.
The camera is based partly on patents Apple acquired from Kodak. Google and Apple both placed bids on Kodak’s over 1,000 patents in 2012.
Apple patents ideas all the time. Just because it was granted this patent doesn’t mean we’ll actually see Apple start making digital cameras.
On the other hand, Apple may be see an opportunity to challenge GoPro now. GoPro’s stock is down 46% from its high of $US98.47 last fall.
Here’s a look at an example of the type of camera the patent is envisioning. It still has Kodak’s logos on it: