Product images and specs for GoPro's (NASDAQ:GPRO) Hero 6 cameras are leaking, and the product's launch may come as early as next week. Photo Rumors and The Verge are reporting on rumors that the Hero 6 (Black?) will be priced at $499 in the U.S. and offer 4k video at 60 frames per second and 1080p video at 240 frames per second for slow-motion capture.
If those specs are correct, these changes for the Hero 6 won't be revolutionary, but they're still a big step forward from the Hero 5. And if there are improvements made under the hood to software, too, it could be a hit product for GoPro.
What we think we know
Photo Rumors is reporting that Hero 6 will be announced Sept. 28 and launch the same day. The product has apparently shown up in some Canadian stores, which is why there are so many detailed rumors about it floating around.
Current scuttlebutt has it that the price of Hero 5 Black will stay the same at $399, and Hero 5 Session will remain $299. Essentially, GoPro is expected to try to raise the prices on its top of the line cameras, a strategy change from its efforts to make them more affordable in recent years. The risk is that buyers will balk at spending $499 on a GoPro camera, and won't see a reason to buy older models unless they get discounted.
The loser in Hero 6?
The Verge is reporting that GoPro won't be using processors from Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA), the company's longtime chip partner, on the new models. Instead, the company allegedly went with a custom designed processor. This could help improve image quality and battery life, but presents a big strategic change for GoPro.
Ambarella has been joined at the hip to GoPro for years, and while it is trying to diversify its customer base, losing GoPro would be a big deal to the business.
What to watch for next week
If rumors are correct and the Hero 6 will essentially be a spec upgrade from Hero 5 Black, investors should watch for software upgrades to drive holiday season sales. Without improved voice capabilities or improved offloading and sharing technology, I don't see this as the kind of product people will rush out and buy, much less for $499.
The more important upgrades may be coming to Fusion, GoPro's soon to be released 360-degree camera, and the Karma drone. Fusion needs a release date, price point, and specs before even begin to gauge if it's going to be a hit product. For 2017, it may only be a small piece of the company's sales, despite a lot of buzz around the 360-degree video advancement.
Karma also needs an update, but a full revamp is unlikely for 2017. Word is that the Karma Grip will get an upgrade along with the drone's firmware. This may make it slightly more compelling for consumers, but would still leave it well behind DJI's Spark and Mavic drones.
Keep an eye out for GoPro's likely new product announcement on Sept. 28. It could determine the stock's direction for the next year, until the next Hero camera arrives.