Apple has been awarded a patent by the USPTO based on IP it acquired from Kodak in a deal from 2013, which details a remote digital camera system that can be controlled from a smartwatch (Apple Watch fantasists should note that this patent was originally created in 2012). The Apple patent specifically seeks to address flaws identified in the design of competitors including the GoPro HD Hero2 cameras, which it claims are susceptible to movement based on wind resistance that affects final image output.
The Apple patent, which includes images that still bear Kodak’s branding on technical drawings representing the system it describes, describes a system with multiple camera sensors to cover multiple angles, and to provide coverage in multiple directions. The camera also includes multiple threaded mounting points, which can be used with tripods and other accessories, to help ensure that it can be used both handheld by a user like a normal camera, and mounted in any number of configurations on different devices, like cars, handlebars, jibs, and more.
Apple’s patent aims to differentiate itself from the crowd by offering users a range of choices as to how to shoot with the device, including remotely via a wrist-mounted control device that communicates wirelessly with the camera gadget, and which can provide it with updated information in real-time. The remote also features a low-power mode for stand operation while conserving battery.
Publication of the patent has apparently led to a decline in GoPro stock today, as noted by CNN Money, but investors can probably relax: Apple patents a lot of tech, and hardly any of it ever makes it to market as consumer products. An action camera, which appears to double as a rugged point-and-shoot, seems about as likely a product to come out of Apple as a head-mounted Google Glass competitor in the near future – which is to say it isn’t likely at all.
It’s also key to note that this patent application leans heavily on existing Kodak IP. It’s in Apple’s interest to make use of the products of that property acquisition, even if it doesn’t intend to ship anything based on the patents involved in the near future.