Apple's Wearable Camera Patent Zaps GoPro Shares

Investors in GoPro hit the panic button yesterday after it came to light that Apple was granted a bunch of patents, one of which is for a wearable camera design. What they're worried about is the competition that Apple brings to the table -- at present, when it comes to wearable cameras, there's the GoPro's lineup and a handful of non-threatening also-rans.

Apple filed the patent application
 back in March 2012, which describes a camera that can be mounted on things like bike helmets, scuba masks, handlebars of a motorcycle, and the front of a surfboard. The patent application even specifically mentions the GoPro HD Hero2 line, though points out that it only includes a single image capture system, one that's prone to "excessive wind resistance" and is susceptible to damage.

Apple Camera Mount
Drawing that shows Apple's camera attached to a helmet mount

"Thus, there remains a need to provide a digital camera that can be used in a 'conventional' capture mode, where the digital camera is held by the user while capturing digital images, and which can also be used in 'streamlined' mounted mode, which provides a lower profile and reduced wind resistance when the digital camera captures images while mounted to moving object such as a bicycle," Apple explained in its patent application.

GoPro cameras are super popular among athletes and adventure seeking individuals -- it's not hard to find a YouTube video shot with a GoPro brand camera. However, the threat of Apple getting into the business of wearable cameras caused GoPro's stock price to drop by around 12 percent to below $50 per share ($49.87). GoPro's stock price is recovering as the day goes on ($52.12 at the time of this writing), but if Apple does decide to throw its weight around in the wearable camera category, today's knee-jerk reaction by investors could be a sign of things to come.