If you were disappointed by this week’s release of the GoPro Hero 12 Black, you’re not alone. It’s one of the least significant updates to the action camera line and even lacks essential features such as GPS. However, there’s some good news from GoPro – they are currently working on a successor to the GoPro Max, which is bound to be more exciting for those interested in a next-generation action camera.
GoPro hasn’t provided specific details regarding the release date of the GoPro Max 2, also known as its confirmed name. During the Hero 12 Black launch event, CEO Nick Goodman expressed that there is significant anticipation for the next version of Max. He confirmed that the camera is currently being developed and assured that it will be worth the wait.
We don’t have much information, but we’ll gladly accept it. It’s been about four years since the GoPro Max was announced, so we had almost lost hope of a follow-up to one of the top 360 cameras. During this period, Insta360 has dominated the market with impressive competitors like the Insta360 X3, which is likely the most enjoyable camera currently available for purchase.
The possibility of a GoPro Max 2 is genuinely thrilling if the camera can meet its intended purpose. And what exactly is that purpose? It’s an all-weather camera that can be taken anywhere and doesn’t require specific pointing, allowing you to capture your adventures. Furthermore, it can automatically create a highlights compilation of your trip, ready to be shared on social media.
Whether or not the upcoming Max can fulfill these expectations is uncertain, but hints of such capabilities were seen in GoPro’s patent applications in July 2022. These patents disclosed a processor equipped with a “context component” capable of analyzing the scene’s context and adjusting the “viewing window” (i.e., the visible content during video playback) and the overall framing of the video to match.
We’ve encountered a similar idea in the past, such as the AutoReframe feature from Insta360, which automatically edits your 360 video. GoPro’s Quik mobile app also offers an Auto Highlight feature specifically for GoPro Subscribers, but it only works with the standard ‘flat’ videos from their Hero Black series.
GoPro plans to release their new Quik software for desktop. The app is scheduled to launch on Mac computers on November 1, and on Windows in the summer of 2024. This software will include an Auto Highlight feature. Additionally, it is expected that the software will be able to perform ‘reframing’ edits similar to the ones achieved by Insta360’s Studio software, once the Max 2 camera is introduced.
With nearly four years passed since the release of the current Max, we anticipate significant improvements in the hardware for the Max 2. It is likely to feature enhanced sensors, possibly incorporating two 1/1.7-inch sensors similar to those found in the Hero 12 Black. Additionally, we can expect support for 5K/60p video recording and very likely the implementation of GoPro’s latest GP2 processor, or perhaps even the GP3.
When it comes to 360 cameras, the software is what truly enhances the experience, as the ability to adjust the camera’s perspective in any direction after recording the video (which is the primary advantage of 360 cameras) can be rather daunting despite the hardware being relatively straightforward.
If GoPro can successfully accomplish that aspect this time around, the Max 2 might finally become the action camera and Insta360 alternative that we’ve eagerly anticipated for many years.
Examining the Next Chapter of the Action Camera
GoPro acknowledged the possibilities of 360 cameras in 2017 with the introduction of the first Fusion model. However, it has taken quite some time for them to develop the Max 2. This delay can be attributed, at least in part, to GoPro’s choice to streamline its product offerings after facing challenges with the GoPro Karma drone.
Action camera enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating the release of the Max 2 model. Although conventional action cameras have reached their peak in terms of development, the Hero 12 Black fell slightly short of our expectations. Nonetheless, if this means that GoPro has dedicated greater effort and passion to the Max 2, we are willing to overlook any shortcomings.
The latest smartphones, such as the iPhone 14, come with a feature called Action Mode. Although Action Mode doesn’t fully compare to the convenience of a GoPro, it’s a close alternative that raises the question of whether an action camera is necessary for many individuals.
Action cameras must provide a distinct feature that is not available on smartphones, and that feature is 360-degree shooting. With the ability to capture everything happening around you at the same time, 360 cameras can perform visually impressive tricks and are incredibly versatile. If the Max 2 incorporates the same level of refinement that GoPro is known for, it has the potential to become an exciting new model worth anticipating.