Excitement is building around the next generation action camera from GoPro, and the Hero 5 Black is expected to have built-in GPS in a thinner body.

The features were predicted by analysts at Dougherty & Co., who looked at FCC filings made last week. According to Charles Anderson of Dougherty & Co., the GoPro Hero 5 Black “about 16% thinner than its predecessor and will be the first GoPro camera to have built-in GPS and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.”

GoPro Hero 5
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

GoPro Hero 5 Black predicted for release this fall

It is thought that the new camera could appear as soon as Q4 2016, but official information has been hard to come by. As it is people have been left to speculate on what features the GoPro Hero5 Black will have.

“We saw no evidence in the filings that the Hero 5 Black (which we expect to debut in late September or early October) will have cellular connectivity nor did we see any evidence of dual lenses for 360-degree capture — two features that industry-watchers have speculated the camera may have,” said Anderson.

However the analyst believes that 360-degree video could still make an appearance in the upcoming action camera. “We wouldn’t foreclose the option of 360-degree as the FCC filings are fairly incomplete in covering that portion of the hardware, but cellular looks unlikely as the FCC would have definitely tested for that feature,” continued Anderson.

Will GoPro make a Hero 5 Silver?

With previous incarnations of its action camera, GoPro has made different models for users with varying priorities. “Additionally, we note that GoPro has not filed any FCC applications yet for the Hero 5 Silver. On the last generation, the Hero4 Silver camera came with an LCD touchscreen while the Hero4 Black did not. GoPro generally reserves the highest image quality for the Black version of the camera while the Silver will sometimes get differentiating features, but with lower image quality,” said Anderson.

One of the biggest rumors surrounding the new action camera is that GoPro will add GPS connectivity in order to keep up with rivals. This would mark a departure from the company’s previous attitude towards GPS.

“In terms of adding GPS, we note that GoPro officials in the past have dismissed the idea with us due to the fact that GPS created a power drain for negligible added benefit,” said Anderson. “They argued that if a user really wanted to use GPS (which could be used to measure speed, etc.), they could pair a GoPro with their smartphone and get the GPS signal there.”

At the same time GoPro is facing competition from other brands that have added GPS to their action camera offerings. “Several competitors, including Garmin and Sony, have added GPS to action cameras as a differentiating feature but neither was able to pick up noticeable market share as a result,” Anderson noted. Despite a lack of impact on sales of rival cameras, it looks like GoPro is set to add the feature.

Leaked video purportedly shows instruction video

A leaked video reportedly about the Hero 5 has appeared on Reddit, posted by user Konrad-iturbe. It looks like an instruction video for the new camera, and it appears that the touch control interface has been redesigned.

The menu looks slightly simpler than on the GoPro Hero 4, with a row of settings along the bottom that allow you to change resolution, frame rate and shooting mode. Another update may well be in the offing in terms of video recording.

These days 4K video has become the new standard, and it’s time that GoPro satisfied the demands of high-quality recording. While the Hero4 could record in 4K, it could only do so at 30 frames per second. Rumors suggest that the Hero 5 will be able to shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second.

Various potential changes subject to rumor and speculation

Other concerns include battery life, which could be affected by the inclusion of GPS technology. Some commentators have predicted that GoPro will fit a much larger 2,800mAh battery pack to the Hero 5 to boost battery life.

GoPro is also working on a drone, known as Karma. Some people have suggested that the drone and the GoPro Hero 5 have been held back so that they can be released as a bundle. However there has been no official announcement on the matter.

While it is always an interesting exercise to consider what GoPro might do with its next-generation action camera, it is important to remember that at this stage we are dealing with pure speculation. We will only find out the truth when GoPro makes an official announcement on the matter.