GoPro has long been one of the go-to names when it comes to action cameras, but now faces stiff competition in 360 degree camera category from Chinese brand Insta360. That is why it makes perfect sense that they would want to refresh their Max series cameras; an increased market share would help GoPro win back their market dominance and the new GoPro Max 2 would give a competitive edge over its rivals.
But does the company have an official GoPro Max 2 release date planned? Well, reports indicate that it may take until 2023 before we see an updated model come out; though they could always surprise us and announce it sooner.
Last time we saw GoPro update its 360-degree camera line was in 2017. That year, they unveiled Fusion: an action camera equipped with two lenses designed to be more all-purpose than Hero series cameras and spark "a new creative era." Unfortunately, Fusion failed to live up to these promises due to being too large and difficult for most people to use.
GoPro has focused on improving its core products with incremental upgrades rather than wholesale reinvention; but if it follows suit with Insta360 and others, the GoPro Max 2 must make major modifications in order to remain competitive.
TechRadar discovered earlier this year a patent filing from Google which suggests they are working on an improved 360-degree camera. The filing details a number of features which they could potentially implement into this upcoming device, including being able to frame and reframe footage effortlessly as well as having access to low light performance improvements with new lenses such as spherical lenses as well as adding in close up zoom options for closeup shots.
Patent filings suggest an innovative feature of GoPro cameras: their ability to shoot 12-bit color depth video footage. GoPro typically uses 8-bit cameras which restrict how much data it can capture.
The camera could include editing tools and effects that allow users to create professional-looking videos instantly. Furthermore, scene recognition - similar to smart phones - could automatically highlight the best parts of every shot for you.
Finally, the camera will likely sport a larger sensor than its predecessor. For instance, the Max used an IMX577 with 4,056 active pixels across its horizontal resolution; by multiplying that figure by 0.71 it becomes sufficient for 8K capture.
GoPro Max 2 will surely arrive by September or October of 2022 as its predecessor was only 3 years old at that point. GoPro normally releases new Hero models every year. It will be interesting to see whether its successor follows suit with regular updates like previous models do.