Because the drone world is more than 70% dominated by DJI, we get to know DJI rumors really well….since more than 70% of our time is spent covering them.
2017 was a watershed year for DJI with so many products released. When we looked back at all that happened last year, we were surprised at how many events we had forgotten about.
But now that we’re in a New Year, the momentum must also continue anew. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas begins on January 9th and we know that DJI will be one of the big attractions again this year. In 2017, DJI released the CrystalSky monitors, a Chinese New Year Edition of the Phantom 4, the Osmo Mobile Silver and a Zenmuse M1 gimbal for the Osmo handheld.
For us, speculating about what DJI is going to release at an event falls into one of two categories: what we know, and what is possible.
Starting with the “what we know”, we can tell you with very high conviction that a new version of the Osmo Mobile is coming. Called the Osmo Mobile 2, it received it’s FCC clearance certificate about a week before Christmas. The test images are embargoed until mid-January, which usually coincides with when the product is released.
The new Osmo Mobile 2 has a couple of differences that we can see from the original Osmo. First it looks like the gimbal itself might be removable. This would be an interesting twist if interchangable mounts were available for the Osmo Mobile 2.
The second difference is the configuration of the gimbal arms. The original Osmo Mobile‘s arms don’t fold away conveniently for storage. The section of arm that holds the smartphone, (image below) doesn’t fit into the space between the handle and the axis. This design flaw (Apple would never let this out of the lab) has meant that the Osmo Mobile has never felt well-fitted in any storage bags.
The new Osmo Mobile 2, below, appears to have resolved that issue by shortening the smart-phone mount arm so that it swings away cleanly in line with the handle. Whether DJI acheived this by shortening the arm, or enlarging the handle, has yet to be determined. But as the sketch provided to/by the FCC clearly shows the gimbal arms are now angled, and the two axes now nest together for storage.
Two thumbs up for this improvement.
Unfortunately that’s all we can make out on the new Osmo Mobile 2 for now, so we’ll see what leaks out of the internet over the next few days.
DJI Phantom 5
The Phantom 5 rumor started about eight seconds after the Phantom 4 was released. Ironically DJI decided to evolve the P4 into the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Advanced first. (If you’re considering these two drones, and arent’ sure which one is right for you DJI has a great article on the differences here.)
So far we’ve seen specualtions on the Phantom 5 everywhere. But we do have some very credible sources that we have come to rely on. So we carefully consider the information that we’re given and we brainstorm what changes would be most attractive to consumers.
If a new Phantom 5 is coming we expect things like slightly longer battery life to be a given. Whether DJI achieves this with a lighter aircraft or advancing the electronics (like with the Mavic Pro Platinum) is up in the air.
The recent launch of the Zenmuse X7 camera gimbal with interchangeable lenses for the Inspire 2 drone has opened up the posibilites for all future DJI products. One speculation we’ve seen, from a credible source, is exactly that the Phantom 5 will have four interchangeable lenses (in 15mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm) that connect to a 1″ gimbal mounted CMOS sensor.
In the past, DJI has made advances that were based on software rather than hardware (recall last years Groundstation app) and this could also be the case for the Phantom 5. With an improved brain, additional flight options could be opened up for a newer aircraft including pre-programmed flight modes and more.
DJI Mavic 2
Because the Mavic Pro is now a year old, it may be a little premature for a next-gen version to be revealed. If we look at the evolution of the Mavic in 2017 it has followed the same familiar path we saw with the Phantom 4. Make subtle changes to the aircraft during the year. The first variation was the Mavic Pro Platinum with it’s advanced motor controls and props that added 3 minutes to battery life and reduced noise by more than 50%. Neither of those were really a deal-breaker for Mavic enthusiasts so there’s been a lot of debate in the forums as to whether the Platinum is worth paying up for.
Then DJI, in partnership with Apple, released a limited edition Alpine White Mavic Pro bundle. Aimed at the type of consumer (ahem, Apple fan-boys) who look at their gadgets more as collectible giftware than utilitarian devices, we expect the Alpine White Mavic to have a short lifespan. But wait, where have we seen other color variations before? Yup. Phantom 4 obisidian. 5 colors of Spark. Mayber there’s something more to this: could we see a rainbow of Mavic colors released this year?
But back to the Mavic 2, we have seen sketches of a proposed Mavic 2 variant. Not sure whether it would be called a Mavic Pro 2 or just Mavic 2. So far it is rumored to have specs like longer (than Platinum Pro) battery life at up to 35 minutes.
Mavic 2 rumors also say that the camera sensor is being upsized from the current 1/2.3″ on the Mavic to a full 1″ sensor on the Mavic 2. This would fill in the one shortfall of the existing Mavic Pro: 4K video is great, but still photos aren’t good enough compared to the Phantom 4 Pro.
Regardless of whether our guesses above are correctly picking what DJI will do at CES we know that DJI will do something at CES. That’s a given.
With two booths, one major booth in the Drones section of the show (right next to Yuneec USA) and a smaller booth nestled between Nikon and Samsung in the Tech East area of the Central Hall, there will be lots to see and hear around the displays.
What are you expecting from DJI at CES2018 in Las Vegas? Let us know in the comments.