Wall Street may fear that if Apple Inc. gets into the sports camera business, it will be bad news for GoPro. Shares of the action-photography manufacturer fell more than 12 percent on Tuesday after Apple received several patents, including one for a remote-controlled camera.
Apple criticized a popular GoPro model when it bought rights to the patent from Kodak in 2012, noting that the HD Hero2 camera can only be used when mounted to a device. Apple notes its own design could go from a hand-held mode to a “streamlined” mode with a lower profile that would be less susceptible to damage and wind resistance when it’s on a “bike helmet or scuba mask, or mounted to the handlebars of a motorcycle or the front of a surfboard.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Apple’s patents on Monday, including the wearable camera that raised fears about GoPro Inc., the extreme-action camera maker that went public in June. Apple is known to patent a number of technologies without ever implementing them into its product line.
Tuesday was part of a decline in GoPro stock that began in early October, when it reached a high of $93.85 per share. The stock ended Tuesday at $49.81.
The USPTO also awarded Apple a 3D “user interface” that could allow users to control computers without touching them. Similar hand gesture interfaces are found on Leap Motion products. The San Francisco-based company did not experience a similar tumble, likely because it is privately owned.