Fans of action cameras and the GoPro range in particular will doubtless have noticed that the company has fallen on some tricky times recently. A recent earnings reports displayed losses in excess of $116 million. In response to these worrying figures, GoPro closed down some offices and permanently jettisoned its entertainment division, with the company seeking a return to profitability later this year.

GoPro Hero 6
Image Source: GoPro.com

Woodman confirms GoPro Hero 6

Central to this process will obviously be the production of some exciting new devices, and thus it was no surprise that CEO Nick Woodman has confirmed that there will a new Hero 6 action camera released in 2017. “There will be new cameras and other accessories released during the year and new camera namely being Hero 6. But we’re not going to share any information as to the timing or any other details around the release of those new products as you can imagine,” Woodman commented on the subject.

The GoPro Hero 6 will aim to pack in some exciting new features, while also delivering an affordable package that appeals to the mass market. GoPro has declined to confirm any release information on the matter as of yet, with Woodman telling investors just last week that the company would not “share any information as to the timing or any other details around the release of those new products as you can imagine”.

With GoPro having recalled its Karma drone just weeks after its launch, the technology manufacturer is certainly facing its fair share of challenges recently. But Woodman also revealed that GoPro had experienced successes in some areas of its business, with uptake for its $4.99 per month cloud storage platform having improved. “In 2016, big investment in hardware, cloud and mobile yielded a solid foundational experience for our customers. In 2017, we will build on this foundation for our customers,” Woodman stated.

Spherical design

So what can we expect from the GoPro Hero 6 when it is released, what will it reasonably cost, and how will the design of the camera turn out? Well, one of the most interesting notions related to this action camera is the idea that it will be spherical. This has already been floated as a concept by the aforementioned Woodman at the CES electronics trade show in Las Vegas.

The purpose of this spherical design is to to enable users to capture 360-degree footage in flexible ways. Woodman envisages that this footage will then be available for sharing with friends via a raft of different methods. For example, it will be possible to utilize a device such as the GoPro Omni rig to record 360-degree action footage, with the possibility of then editing this video via mobile by controlling the direction of the camera.

Virtual reality is also likely to be a major feature of the GoPro Hero 6. This technology is becoming increasingly mainstream, with the strong sales of the recent PlayStation VR headset contributing to this trend. Again, Woodman commented on this at the earnings call for GoPro, indicating his belief that virtual reality presents an exciting opportunity for action camera makers in particular. So we are extremely likely to see some major virtual reality features when the GoPro Hero 6 hits the stores.

Woodman also laid out plans to focus on four further areas in 2017, namely simplifying the storytelling process with a smartphone connection, marketing to more communities, growing internationally and expanding the GoPro experience for advanced users. It is interesting that Woodman particularly mentioned smartphones, as this suggests that the GoPro Hero 6 will be a particularly connectible device.

8K resolution

Not too much else is known regarding the specifications of this action camera, but it seems likely that GoPro will embrace 8K resolution when the Hero 6 is released. We don’t know precisely when this action camera will hit the market, but the likelihood is that 4K technology will be even more established as a part of the mainstream landscape by then. Microsoft should have released its Xbox Scorpio console before the GoPro Hero 6 hits the stores, and this should mean that even more people are enjoying 4K content on a regular basis.

With this in mind, 8K resolution will begin to be presented as the next generation of technology, with 4K resolution increasingly occupying the position that HD enjoys currently. Eventually, it will be normal for 4K resolution to be beamed into people’s homes via television cable providers, and at this point we will see early adopters switching to 8K technology en masse. It is incumbent upon action camera manufacturers to be ahead of the curve, and thus we can probably expect something outstanding in the 8K department when the GoPro Hero 6 is released.

Other specs

Aside from this, we can look at the specs of the GoPro Hero 5 as a guide for its next generation cousin. So we can certainly expect 30fps shooting at 4K, with the body of the unit possibly slimmed down further still from the dinky 118g of the Hero 5. GoPro may also decide to include a larger battery in the GoPro Hero 6, in order to ensure longer recording times, so we may see the action camera feature a 1,500 mAh cell for the first time.

Considering the financial travails of GoPro, it also seems safe to assume that the GoPro Hero 6 will be extremely competitively priced. The company needs to attract new consumers to its primary product range, and thus the corporation will probably freeze the price of the camera from previous generations. This should make what will be a state of the art action camera an even more attractive prospect for consumers.

GoPro is under pressure to improve its fortune rapidly, but action camera consumers should benefit significantly from this unfortunate situation with an outstanding Hero 6 release.