The guys over at Endgadget were able to interview Nick Woodman and pick his brain about what we can expect from GoPro in 2016. Here are the main takeaways:
- GoPro will be evolving on the Hero4 Session’s form factor so the cube shape is sticking around
- New products are in development to enter the virtual reality and fully immersive 360 degree video market
- GoPro is entering the drone market with their Karma and it will follow their theme of versatility
The Session and its Shape
The GoPro Session was 3 years in the making. The vision was to make a camera that was the easiest GoPro to use ever and I think they’ve accomplished that with the 1 button functionality. He describes the Session as streamlined, efficient, convenient, easy to learn and invisible. Nick drew inspiration from the Apple operating system which is intuitive and easy enough for toddlers to master.
Nick admitted that they confused consumers by pitting it against the Hero4 Silver in terms of price when it was first released ($399). However, the price drop to $199 has now made it, according to him, one of the best selling cameras.
The other thing that confused consumers was the shape. It was the first GoPro to not look like…well a GoPro. This worried consumers on the topic of mount compatibility. However, backwards compatibility has always been one of the most important things so all future cameras including the Session will work with most existing mounts and accessories.
That’s good news for fanatics like us who have way too many mounts already!!
Nick made an interesting point about the Hero 4 Session: it’s the perfect entry level camera but it’s also the perfect 2nd or 3rd GoPro for existing Hero owners.
I have to agree with that statement and it certainly makes the Session a very unique product.
Nick hinted that the future GoPro product line up will take cues from the Session’s simplicity in the sense that all new cameras are going to become more straightforward for the consumer. I just hope we don’t lose too much control over settings.
Probably one of the most important comments he made is that his favorite GoPro is the Session and GoPro’s feedback from consumers is that they love the Session as well. It’s very safe to assume that future cameras will use the same form factor as the existing Session.
The only thing left to figure out is the camera’s name. Will it be dubbed the GoPro Hero4+ Session, Hero5, Session 2?
With GoPro’s acquisition of Kolor back in the first half of 2015, I think we all knew GoPro was going to release some sort of hardware to go along with their new software.
This isn’t GoPro’s first venture into rigs. They already partnered with Google to create the epic 16 camera array called the Odyssey. However, this rig is $15,000 and only professional content creators can buy one after they submit an application.
GoPro does plan on releasing some sort of consumer-focused rig that uses a GoPro to capture immersive VR footage. The exact number of cameras that you will need was not mentioned but Nick did say that they would be collapsing a 6 camera rig into something much smaller for the average consumer.
Does smaller mean less cameras? I don’t know.
The project is already underway and is expected to be released in the first half of 2016.
Nick touched again on the Karma: GoPro’s entry into the drone market.
The drone market is a bit different for GoPro since they are the ones entering an established market instead of being the ones that define it like they did with the action camera market.
Despite the fact that GoPro never produced its own drone, GoPro is already closely associated with drones since the Hero camera was often the camera of choice to mount to the existing drones on the market such as the 3DR Solo and DJI Phantom 2.
DJI has since ditched GoPro compatibility and has been releasing their drones with their own cameras so I’m not sure if something happened between DJI and GoPro or if DJI caught wind of GoPro wanting to enter the market and is trying to disassociate themselves from GoPro.
In any event, GoPro will follow the theme of the Hero being the most versatile camera in the world so I think we can expect something that’s very easy to use and potentially smaller than what’s currently on the market. If Nick loves the Session as much as he says he does, I would expect the Karma to possess a similar low profile shape.
Nick also described the Karma as high performance and accessible. I hope accessible means a low price!
You’ll see Karmas flying around in the first half of 2016.